Talk:Theory of evolution/Archive 16

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Errors in Disproving Evolution

Well, the sheer number of things I could say about this page are extensive, but I'll restrict myself to one passage - the part about scientists being 'wrong' about animal behaviour and the Bible being right. Why this section is on this page is a total mystery. It seems to be attempting to disprove the theory of evolution by disproving...well...science, basically. However, the main point is that upon reading the sources for these claims, the evidence is not as clear-cut as this section makes out. Let's take the lions first. Firstly, the source claims that 'Until the 1970s naturalists believed that lions killed their prey by biting through the neck or by breaking the neck with a swat of a paw', and goes onto say that this is contradicted by the Bible which states that, 'The lion...strangled prey for his lionesses'. Well, firstly, how did the lion strangle the prey? My guess would be, maybe, biting it in the throat or neck - one of the two ways given by this source that naturalists claimed the lion killed it's prey. Secondly, even this source agrees the Bible got it wrong - it is the LIONESSES that do most of the hunting, not the lions.

Let's move onto the snakes. The source says that zoologists and scientists have claimed that snakes are deaf, or almost totally deaf. It then provides a passage from the Bible which seems to claim that snakes can hear. It then provides third-hand evidence in the form of a newspaper article quoting a Dr. David I Macht who was told by 'a number of Hindu physicians' that snakes respond to musical tones. Hardly conclusive. It then goes onto provide what seems to be a wealth of evidence DISproving that snakes can hear - instead they sense vibrations through the ground they are on. It then goes onto providing evidence that suggests snakes MAY be able to hear certain limited frequencies of sound. Not that snakes DEFINITELY hear.

Then let's address ants. Firstly, this source tells of a passage in the Bible where the diligence of ants storing up provisions is an example to be emulated. This source then goes onto to quote another source that 'It is well known that the ancient Greeks and Romans believed that the ant stored up food'. This, presumably, also included the ancient Greek and Roman thinkers and philosophers, what we would, perhaps, call 'scientists' now. He then provides another source which explains it all in full detail - 'The ancient writers lived around the Mediterranean where harvesting ants are common. Probably they considered all ants as harvesters. Many centuries later, the beginning of modern science blossomed forth in more northern temperate countries, where harvesters are unknown. And so it was that these northern scientists by the eighteenth century began first to question, then to refute, the existence of any such creatures. The pendulum of scientific thought had swung in the opposite direction, despite the fierce opposition met in defying the word of the Bible. In the nineteenth century, as ants were studied more carefully and in additional parts of the world, it was gradually learned that some ants, although not all, are harvesters. Thus was removed the tarnish that in some scientific circles had dulled the veracity of Solomon.' The earlier thinking that ants were not harvesters was not proven wrong, per se, but merely proven incomplete - all of the ants in temperate ares were not harvesters. Some of those further south, nearer the Mediterranean, were.Zmidponk 11:27, 18 December 2007 (EST)

Harvester Ants are a species native to Arizona. Maybe a better term should be used to aviod confusion. Maybe 'agricultural' ants? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by PsychoDolly (talk)
I'm not going to address most of your post, because most of it refers to matters that I don't know a lot about, but regarding your first comment about why the section is there, see the Scientific Community Consensus section above. Philip J. Rayment 06:23, 19 December 2007 (EST)
Well, even the claim that 'it is there to prove that science is sometimes wrong and the Bible is always right' does not make sense - one of the sources used for this claim even actually agrees that certain behaviour by lions seems inconsistent with the Bible's claims. Zmidponk 10:16, 19 December 2007 (EST)

What does the ToE have to do with atheism?

Last time I checked the theory of evolution was a scientific theory, not a metaphysical view of the world, therefor it has nothing to say on the existence of any gods whatsoever. By conflating the Theory of Evolution with atheism the authors of this article are being intellectually dishonest. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 2112 (talk)

That evolution is a scientific theory is one of the claims of its supporters, but is questioned by creationists. Whether it is considered scientific or not, it is based on the assumption of naturalism, i.e. that there is no God. At least two prominent evolutionists have said that it was Darwin's intention to explain things without God. And others have said that evolution supports their atheism. Philip J. Rayment 06:00, 19 December 2007 (EST)
That's not the point. The point of the poster was to highlight the fact that it's 100% possible to believe in a created world and an intelligent designer, AND evolution. In fact since evolution has evidence and a created world has no evidence the evolution theory is more valid than the created world theory.
Darwin was a Christian, who did not feel comfortable with his theory as it did seem to him to remove the power of God, but it actually makes God even more impressive. What's more powerful, to click your fingers and the universe to be created, or to click your fingers and the big bang occurs, creating the evolution of the universe and all organisms within it? Darwinian Evolution is NOT evidence against the existance of God, nor is it in any way related except to unintelligent fundamentalists who believe that a book written slowly over thousands of years by humans with political aims, is the direct word of an invisible man who lives in the sky. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by PsychoDolly (talk)
I don't agree that that was the point of the poster, and I'd suggest that you don't know for sure either, unless you are he under a different name. But even though you are correct that it is possible to believe in both evolution and a Creator (although not the God of the Bible), I didn't actually say that it wasn't possible, did I? I was basically making a case that the two are closely intertwined; I didn't say that they were totally inseparable.
That there is no evidence for a created world is nothing more than anti-creationist nonsense. In fact, as creationists have said before, both creationists and evolutionists have the same evidence. The difference is the interpretation put on that evidence.
Darwin was raised in a Christian society and was nominally Christian to start with, but became an agnostic or atheist. I cannot agree that evolution makes God more impressive, but that's a non-issue really. The point is that evolution is contrary to both the biblical record and to the nature of God as described in the Bible. So it's not just a question of whether God could have used evolution, but whether he did use evolution. The biblical record says that he did not, so belief in evolution requires (if one is being consistent) a disbelief in what the Bible teaches about creation. That is, the two are not compatible.
And your contempt for what you term "fundamentalists" and for the Bible is blatant. When you resort to abusive ad hominem arguments to make your point, you have no point.
Philip J. Rayment 20:59, 20 December 2007 (EST)
Anyone who cannot see that an English book is not the word of a non-physical meta being just because it says so, does not live up to the levels of intelligence I expect from people who accept to be taken seriously. You can believe ungrounded 'facts' if you like, but I've never met an intelligent religious person who thinks that the world was literally created in six days as is, and that all the evidence of historical and modern natural selection and evolution was planted by God to fool us scientifically minded folk who investigate our universe. So to all intelligent, non-fundamental theists can and should accept evolution if they consider the evidence in favour of it. If they don't then coming up with something other than "but this doesnt sound like what was written down thousands of years ago when we didnt understand the universe like we do today".
The point is, that the article is saying "Atheists believe in evolution, therfore it is wrong." But that's absolutely not the point, atheism (the existance or non existance of God has absolutely nothing to do with whether evolution exists.User1601 10:18, 28 December 2007 (EST)
"...an English book ...": An English translation of a book written mostly in Hebrew and Greek. Not that that changes anything, but that's the point: Your mention of it being English is irrelevant, and suggests that you don't really know what you are talking about.
"Anyone who cannot see that an English book is not the word of a non-physical meta being just because it says so does not live up to the levels of intelligence I expect from people who accept to be taken seriously": We don't believe it to be the Word of God "just because it says so". Anyone who thinks that's the only reason we consider it God's word shouldn't expect to be taken seriously.
"I've never met an intelligent religious person who thinks that the world was literally created in six days as is...": Neither have I. We don't believe that it was created in six days "as is". We believe that it was created perfect (without fault) in six days, but that because man rejected God, it has deteriorated since. Furthermore, God later destroyed the world with a flood. So the world that you see today is not the world that God created in six days. If your point was the "six days" rather than the "as is", then, hello, I'm Philip. Pleased to meet you. There, you've just met an intelligent person (I like to think so anyway) who does believe that.
"...all the evidence of historical and modern natural selection and evolution was planted by God to fool us scientifically minded folk who investigate our universe.": Oh, so much wrong with that one sentence!
  • Creationists believe in natural selection! It was described by a creationist before Darwin popularised it. But natural selection is not evolution.
  • We don't believe that God "planted" evidence to fool us. We accept the evidence (fossils, rock layers, etc.), but have a different story to explain them.
  • Creationists are scientifically-minded. That's why many creationists are scientists!
  • Science is based on creationism. See Natural science. Science was started by people who believed that God created a world that was able to be investigated.
"'If they don't then coming up with something other than "but this doesnt sound like what was written down thousands of years ago when we didnt understand the universe like we do today".": That doesn't sound like a complete sentence. But more to the point, that's not the rationale for creationism, and that presumes what it's trying to argue. That is, it presumes that God doesn't exist or didn't create as explained in the Bible, and that the Bible was therefore written by primitive men who didn't know what really happened. Conversely, if the Bible is true, then it had the all-knowing God Who created the world as its ultimate author, and He understands the universe and knows what happened! An argument that assumes its own conclusion is a circular argument.
What your post has shown is that you have no idea of the issue that you are discussing. If you want to be taken seriously on a subject, make the effort to find out about it before ranting off about how wrong it is and its supporters are.
Philip J. Rayment 16:42, 28 December 2007 (EST)
As Richard Dawkins said evolution allows people to be intellectually fulfilled atheists. Without evolution atheism fails. SkipJohnson 15:41, 20 December 2007 (EST)

One way of phrasing it, perhaps, is that evolution is a necessary condition for atheism but not a sufficient one. That is, atheism requires a naturalistic explanation of origins, but evolution (even if it's correct) does not preclude the existence of God. Or, alternatively, atheism requires evolution, but evolution does not require atheism.--Recorder 16:16, 20 December 2007 (EST)

True, except as I've just added above, evolution is inconsistent with the biblical record and with the God of the Bible. That is, I'm only agreeing that evolution can be consistent with a god of one's own invention. Another point is that many atheists use evolution as an argument against God. Philip J. Rayment 21:04, 20 December 2007 (EST)

Agreed, at least in part. In my comment above, I meant to refer to God in a more general sense, not the God as presented in the literal Biblical record in particular--sort of a "natural knowledge of God" vs. "revealed (biblical) knowledge of God" distinction. I'd add that I think that the "evolution occurred, ergo no divine being can exist" argument is pretty weak, and I speculate that more than a few atheists would agree. I'd say (although I could be wrong) that atheists would view evolution as an "enabler" of their (non)belief system rather than a basis for it, which might be what the Dawkins quote that SkipJohnson mentioned refers to.--Recorder 12:15, 21 December 2007 (EST)

That's very true. Just as "no missing link has been found therfore hominids did not evolve from primates but were placed on Earth by God" is a nonsense argument. If God created the world, God created evolution. I see no reason to suppose that the Bible need be 100% literally correct for God to exist. God and the bible are again, totally unrelated. All you know of God is what other people have told you, why are you to suppose they are correct?
The question of the nature of God is one that cannot be answered, so instead in our investigation of the world we look at evidence and conduct experiments to determine the nature of things. Should they prove a few popes wrong, I dont see how that is an attack on God. 'God' is not the same thing as 'religious doctrine' User1601 10:18, 28 December 2007 (EST)
"Just as "no missing link has been found therfore hominids did not evolve from primates but were placed on Earth by God" is a nonsense argument": Which may be why creationists don't use it. But a legitimate argument is, "no missing link has been found therefore it's reasonable to conclude that hominids did not evolve from primates but were placed on Earth by God". That is, a lack of evidence for evolution doesn't prove creation, but it does tend to support the idea.
"If God created the world, God created evolution.": That presumes that evolution exists, which is really the point in contention, isn't it. A circular argument again.
"I see no reason to suppose that the Bible need be 100% literally correct for God to exist.": Most Christians don't consider the Bible to be 100% literally correct. They recognise the existence of analogy, parables, metaphor, etc. But creationists and non-creationist experts do consider the creation account to have been written as literal history.
"God and the bible are again, totally unrelated.": That's your unsupported opinion, not an argument. I believe that there's good reason to believe otherwise.
"All you know of God is what other people have told you, why are you to suppose they are correct?": That opinion relies on your previous unsupported opinion. Most of what I know of God is what the Bible tells me.
"The question of the nature of God is one that cannot be answered...": How do you know it cannot be answered?
"...we look at evidence and conduct experiments to determine the nature of things": As do creationists, who, unlike you, don't a priori rule God out as part of the explanation.
Philip J. Rayment 16:59, 28 December 2007 (EST)

Man you have to get edits to talk in quick before being banned for 'Not using your real name'. Odd how it's not required when you sign up. User1601 is PsychoDolly User1601 10:18, 28 December 2007 (EST)

The registration page says (my emphasis):
Offensive user names will result in that user name being blocked and perhaps the IP address being blocked. Frivolous user names, names of prominent living persons, and user names consisting of, for example, all capital letters or all the same character, may also result in that user name being blocked. User names based on your real name or initials are preferred.
Philip J. Rayment 16:59, 28 December 2007 (EST)

Quote Mines

This article is of extremely poor quality. Over half of it consists of quote mines. The author took quotes from well respected scientists and quoted them in a way that makes it look as if those scientists were doubting the theory of evolution. If the author would actually go to the original source and find the quotes for himself or herself, instead of relying on creationist sources, they would quickly find out that the intention of the scientist is far from what the quote mine suggests. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 2112 (talk)

Please specify which quotes make the scientists look like they doubt evolution. I ask because (a) we can't correct it if we don't know which ones you are talking about, and (b) I've heard this claim made incorrectly before, so I doubt that it's true. I will add, though, that I'd agree that the intention of the scientist is not to question evolution, but that doesn't mean that you can't quote them saying something that contradicts evolution. Philip J. Rayment 06:04, 19 December 2007 (EST)
I agree with the OP. I was reading it trying to find something actually about the Theory of Evolution, but could not. The entire article is very quote heavy (approx 50% is pure quotes). If you submitted this in any form of achedemic examination it would achieve a failing grade.
While it may well be that the theory of evolution is not complete; and indeed creating the very FIRST life has not been possible to replicate; to not explain what it is and instead simply quote out of context many people (some names such as Matt Ridley are even incorrect) and to then lock the article so it cannot be edited... It really makes me think this website is worth nothing when it comes to reliability of information and balenced reporting. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by PsychoDolly (talk)
I'm not defending the article overall, and have said before that it's not the way I'd like it, but you repeat the accusation of the quotes being out of context yet despite all the discussion on this above, still don't actually show how any are out of context. So I think that your accusations (well, that one anyway) are "worth nothing". Philip J. Rayment 21:08, 20 December 2007 (EST)
I honestly don't know of half of the quotes used on the article. Those that I have heard of were not intended to be taken to the extreme they have been. For example; Darwin's statement that he could not imagine how the eye could evolve - yes he could not imagine it, nor can I. It does not mean we think that defeats our argument.
You use evidence of a bacterial flagellum, which the article claims cannot be reduced - well yes it can. The proteins that are in the plasma membrane are the same as those found in active pumps, meaning that a flagellum is not evidence of something existing that cannot have evolved.
While trying to post comments to this talk page I've been banned twice, so forgive me if I don't care what you think of my opinions. Nobody can change the page as it is locked, and the people writing it had an obviously biased viewpoint. I'm not in the slightest bit convinced you are interested in the truth. User1601 10:25, 28 December 2007 (EST)
Umm, what statement from Darwin about the eye? I just did a search on "eye" in the article, and could find no such statement. Perhaps you mean the statement by Mayr? Okay, you're right: It doesn't mean that Mayr rejects evolution. But that's the point: Here's an evolutionist admitting that not only is there no evidence for something, it's barely even possible to imagine how it could happen!
That the plasma membrane has the same proteins does not negate the argument. That's like trying to refute an argument that the motor of a train could not have come about by evolution by pointing out that the nuts in the motor are also found in the body of the train.
As for bias, you wouldn't be biased on this, would you?
Philip J. Rayment 01:07, 29 December 2007 (EST)

Examples of Transitional forms

In your section on transitional forms you should include some positive evidence for the theory of evolution, instead of blatant quote mines. There are plenty of transitional fossils in the record, such as tiktaalik, the 'fishibian', and archeopteryx. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 2112 (talk)

"Plenty"? Then why is it that the same handful of questionable ones keep getting cited? From memory, Gould rejected the Archaeopteryx as transitional, and tiktaalik is far from convincing[1]. Philip J. Rayment 06:17, 19 December 2007 (EST)
Since we were talking about Gould earlier, you may want to know that he considered archaeopteryx a transitional, or in his own words, '… is as pretty an intermediate as paleontology could ever hope to find - a complex mélange of reptilian and avian features.' P144 - 145 of Bully for Brontosaurus, copy write 1991. My question is this. Since you consider Gould to be an authority on whether or not a specimen is transitional, will you heed the suggestion of the previous commenter and recommend archaeopteryx as an excellent example of a transitional form and include it in this article?
Why did you link to a Jonathan Sarfati article concerning Tiktaalik roseae? Why not the original peer-reviewed article in Nature? --Jimmy 14:00, 20 December 2007 (EST)
There appears to be a distinction between intermediate and transitional. We were talking about transitional fossils; Gould referred to Archaeopteryx as intermediate. In order to show that one creature has evolved into a quite different creature (such as a reptile into a bird), you need more than just a third creature that has aspects of both. Reptiles lay eggs, mammals have fur, and the platypus both lays eggs and has fur. Does that make it transitional, or just a creature with features in common with both? (I hope the answer is obvious.) What you need is a whole series of transitions that demonstrate a smooth process. Gould's point, apparently, was that there is no such thing. Archaeopteryx was the nearest one could get to an intermediate form, but failed to show this smooth transition. The quote that I was referring to from Gould is, "Smooth intermediates … are almost impossible to construct, even in thought experiments; there is certainly no evidence for them in the fossil record (curious mosaics like Archaeopteryx do not count)." So whilst he may not have been rejecting it as intermediate between reptiles and birds, it is not an example of a transitional form.
The Sarfati article provides the reference for the Nature article, so you got both for the price of one! Secondly, the Nature article is only available for members or for a fee. Thirdly (though in no particular order), I'm sure that the Nature article would not have highlighted the problems with considering the fossil to be intermediate.
Philip J. Rayment 21:37, 20 December 2007 (EST)
I can tell you are grasping at straws here. An intermediate fossil is for the most part synonymous with transitional, please read up on the difference before casually discarding Gould's assertion. Where did you get your quote mine about Gould anyway? This is just one of the things that aggravated him when he made his famous quote about creationists and stupidity. His theory of punctuated equilibrium was the explanation for why there are no "smooth intermediates … even in thought experiments." Do yourself a favor and try to get the quotes of biologists from primary sources, not creationists; it's less embarrassing that way.
As far as the tiktaalik roseae article is concerned, should I believe an article that has gone through a rigorous peer-review or a short blurb written by someone operating on the fringes of science? I wonder why Sarfati didn't submit his rebuttal to Nature; it would be nice if creationists participated in the scientific process instead of merely critiquing others.--Jimmy 23:18, 20 December 2007 (EST)
If you had asked politely instead of with such insult and arrogance, I would have provided the source, but you can find it for yourself now.
I agree that "for the most part" an intermediate fossil is synonymous with a transitional one, but Gould seems to be making something of a distinction, and I was trying to accommodate what he was saying, not "discard" it, as you seem to be doing by arrogantly referring to it as a "quote mine", despite me doing nothing different to you, i.e. quoting Gould.
Was Gould really aggravated by Creationists misquoting him, or by the fact that other evolutionists were criticising him for providing ammunition to the creationists? I believe the latter to be the case, if for no other reason than I've never seen an explanation from him of just how he was misquoted. Rather, there was just the bald assertion.
Sure, I totally agree that 'His theory of punctuated equilibrium was the explanation for why there are no "smooth intermediates … even in thought experiments."'. But you seem to miss the point. Punctuated equilibrium was the explanation for an observation, yet you seem to think that creationists shouldn't quote him on that observation.
I'm not the embarrassed in the slightest by getting quotes from creationists, when I know that those creationists are careful to check from the primary sources that the quote is accurate. Your slur against creationists is offensive and I ask that you apologise for it.
I also ask that you apologise for the slur that creationists operate "on the fringes of science". That is arrogant evolutionary elitism. Why didn't Sarfati submit his rebuttal to Nature? Apart from the fact that he wrote it for a different audience, he knows better than I do that secular journals like Nature don't publish views supporting creation, simply because it supports creation. Yes, it would be nice if such journals allowed creationists to participate in the scientific process instead of being excluded from it. Can I count on you to argue for that as strongly as you've argued in your post here? Please forgive me for jumping to the conclusion that your answer will be 'no'.
Philip J. Rayment 02:57, 21 December 2007 (EST)
If you have some evidence that a significant number of scientists accused Gould of providing ammunition for creationists, then please provide it. Until then, Gould's words stand as they are plainly written. I am insisting that creationists are misusing Gould's comments about punctuated equilibria because Gould made the accusation himself and he was tired of it, it's that simple.
I'll try again, if you want to know how creationists are misquoting Gould, try reading what he wrote, don't read the articles of creationists that claim they have the inside scoop on what Gould or scientists like him actually said.
I didn't intend to slur anyone. Facts are facts. There are still creationists like Duane Gish that insist Gould's theory meant a bird hatched from a reptile egg.[2] I find it hard to believe that some creationists actually think Gould supported that drivel, yet you don't have to look far to find it.
It is a fact that creationists are at the fringes of science because the vast majority of biologists, anthropologists, etc are evolutionists. The creationist biologists don't even try to get their papers published in journals, they just try to force their views by using public opinion, the legislature and the courts. If you think I'm wrong, then show me a paper sent to a journal from the likes of Sarfati.
What did Darwin do when he published his book? He had to convince his peers that his theory had merit. I don't ever recall reading about him complaining to his city council or gripping about the mean ol' men that didn't like his theory. If we could actually look a creationist paper that was rejected by a science journal, then we could see why it was rejected. I don't know of any paper, do you? I would love to see creationists work within the science community; then maybe we wouldn't see the constant harping that goes on.
Thank-you for referring to evolutionists as elitists. These scientists have worked very hard over the past few centuries and evolution has withstood everything that has been thrown at it. These educated men and women are truly the elite, I thank you again.--Jimmy 14:19, 21 December 2007 (EST)
"If you have some evidence that a significant number of scientists accused Gould of providing ammunition for creationists, then please provide it.": How about Gould's own words?
But most of all I am saddened by a trend I am just beginning to discern among my colleagues. I sense that some now wish to mute the healthy debate about theory that has brought new life to evolutionary biology. It provides grist for creationist mills, they say, even if only by distortion. Perhaps we should lie low and rally around the flag of strict Darwinism, at least for the moment—a kind of old-time religion on our part.
Do want to know where that came from? From the reference that you provided! Here's another (also from Gould):
Our theory became the public symbol and stalking horse for all debate within evolutionary theory. Moreover, since popular impression now falsely linked the supposed ‘trouble’ within evolutionary theory to the rise of creationism, some intemperate colleagues began to blame Eldredge and me for the growing strength of creationism.

Thus, we stood falsely accused by some colleagues both for dishonestly exaggerating our theory to proclaim the death of Darwin (presumably for our own cynical quest for fame), and for unwittingly fostering the scourge of creationism as well,[3]
"I'll try again, if you want to know how creationists are misquoting Gould, try reading what he wrote, don't read the articles of creationists that claim they have the inside scoop on what Gould or scientists like him actually said.": Then I'll try again too (because you've added nothing new): I'll keep using creationist sources when I know that those creationists are careful to check from the primary sources that the quote is accurate. Furthermore, I'm doing no different than you seem to be doing. Your claims that creationists are misquoting seem to not be taken from the creationists' quotes, but from anti-creationist accusations about them. How about you go to the original creationist sources?
"I didn't intend to slur anyone. Facts are facts.". Of course facts are facts. But rhetoric and opinion are not facts, and much of what you wrote was opinion. And opinion that puts someone down is a slur.
"There are still creationists like Duane Gish that insist Gould's theory meant a bird hatched from a reptile egg.": Still? I thought that you were claiming "facts"! Your reference doesn't say when Gish said that, but your reference dates to 1981! So Gish said that, at a minimum, more than a quarter of a century ago! And you've misrepresented Gish anyway. According to your source, Gish actually said that this is what Gould apparently believed. Furthermore, he had reason for doing so.
In this regard Gould spoke favourably of the ideas of Richard Goldschmidt, a German palaeontologist from the mid-1900s who ... proposed a ‘hopeful monster’ theory, where the major body plans were seen as arising suddenly, by some sort of macromutation. This was popularly portrayed as being like a bird emerging out of a reptile egg—a ‘hopeful monster’ theory.

Undoubtedly some creationists have misconstrued Gould’s work, conflating Gould’s writings on speciation and macroevolution, and then characterizing PE as a ‘hopeful monster’ theory. But some evolutionists have ‘misunderstood’ Gould too. Maybe this is not surprising, since Gould’s article had the term in its title,["The return of hopeful monsters"] and he said:
‘I do, however, predict that during the next decade Goldschmidt will be largely vindicated in the world of evolutionary biology.’
[4]
"It is a fact that creationists are at the fringes of science because the vast majority of biologists, anthropologists, etc are evolutionists.": That creationists have a different view of origins doesn't mean that they are 'on the fringes of science'. Many creationary scientists do normal (empirical) science, often for secular institutions. There's nothing fringe about their science, it's just that they have different views on origins.
"The creationist biologists don't even try to get their papers published in journals,...": They often don't because they know from experience that it would be a waste of time. But it's simply not true that they've never tried.
"...they just try to force their views by using public opinion, the legislature and the courts.": Ha! It's the evolutionists who censor creationist views from classrooms. It's evolutionists who scream if the media promotes creationists views. It's evolutionists who censor creationist views from science journals. Yet you've got the gall to say that it's the creationists who are trying to force their views on people! The attempts to use legislature (which, by the way, the leading creationist organisations do not support), have for the most part been attempts to stop the censorship by evolutionists, and most of the court cases have been by evolutionists trying to overturn the legislation to maintain that censorship!
"If you think I'm wrong, then show me a paper sent to a journal from the likes of Sarfati.": Do you mean:
  • a paper showing that a creationists can do publishable science? Try this one by Sarfati.
  • a paper published in a secular journal that puts views opposed to evolution? There's this famous one.
  • a paper submitted to a secular journal but rejected because it was from a creationist? Try this one.
"If we could actually look a creationist paper that was rejected by a science journal, then we could see why it was rejected. I don't know of any paper, do you?" If it was rejected, there's a good chance that I can't show it to you. Nevertheless, see the third bullet above, which was rejected by (at least) two secular journals.
"Thank-you for referring to evolutionists as elitists. ... These educated men and women are truly the elite, I thank you again": Whilst that's a clever play on words, I'm sure that you know as well as I do that that's not what it means.
"...evolution has withstood everything that has been thrown at it.": Bald, unsubstantiated, assertion, and of course a view that I strongly disagree with.
Philip J. Rayment 23:41, 21 December 2007 (EST)
Hello Phil, back from vacation.
Thanks for the links about Gould. Please note what Gould stated in one of your quotes. "It provides grist for creationist mills, they say, even if only by distortion." Are you now admitting Gould's work was being distorted and used against him by creationists?
The sooner you realize that the vast majority of scientists are not creationists and they do not even attempt to work within the scientific establishment, the sooner you will understand this is the reason they are considered a fringe group.
Evolutionists do censor creationists views from the classroom, that's suppose to happen to non-scientific woo-woo. Would you like alchemy in chemistry class or astrology in the astronomy classroom? That's what Behe stated during the Kitzmiller trial, he actually said his definition of science would include such subjects. Sounds like the dumbing down of science in order to promote their snake oil. It is a fact that the majority of creationists aren't even trying to find scientific evidence for their so-called ID theory. Behe made this admission during Kitzmiller also. Your assertion that creationists don't use the legislature is absolutely false. The Discovery Institute worked with former Senator Santorum to push creationism in an education bill. They were unsuccessful.
Your three examples of creationists attempting to publish were amusing. What did Sarfati's paper have to do with creationism? I admit I am completely unfamiliar with the paper's content, maybe you could inform me. Sternberg's paper had nothing to do with the subject content of the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington and it was immediately disavowed. The third paper you mentioned was not rejected for the writer's creationist views, but because the publication "… rejected it from publication on the grounds that it is not sufficiently new or different from what was known by themselves and some of their colleagues in the 1970s."
The fact that evolution is a theory accepted by the scientific establishment is not unsubstantiated. If creationists want to think otherwise, then they are free to think so. But the mere incredulousness of the creationists will not undermine the vast evidence and support of evolution.--Jimmy 12:45, 1 January 2008 (EST)

(unindent) There's so much nonsense in that post that this is going to be a long response.  :-(

"Are you now admitting Gould's work was being distorted and used against him by creationists?": Of course not! What makes you think that?

"The sooner you realize that the vast majority of scientists are not creationists ...": I've never thought otherwise. Again, you seem to be plucking ideas from the air.

"...and they [creationists] do not even attempt to work within the scientific establishment": Absolute rubbish. More unfounded anti-creationists rhetoric. So far there's nothing correct in your post.

"Evolutionists do censor creationists views from the classroom...": Ah! Finally a correct statement!

"...that's suppose to happen to non-scientific woo-woo.": Yes, but we are talking about creationism here, not "non-scientific woo-woo". Please don't introduce red herrings.

"It is a fact that the majority of creationists aren't even trying to find scientific evidence for their so-called ID theory.": If this is a "fact", you ought to be able to produce some hard evidence, then?

"Behe made this admission during Kitzmiller also.": Behe is an ID proponent, not a creationist.

"Your assertion that creationists don't use the legislature is absolutely false.": I didn't say that they didn't. Reread what I did say.

"The Discovery Institute worked with former Senator Santorum to push creationism in an education bill. They were unsuccessful.": Apart from my previous answer, the Discovery Institute is an ID organisation, not a creationist organisation.

"Your three examples of creationists attempting to publish were amusing.": I'm glad to give you some enjoyment, but I'm not amused at you now trying to change the rules (see my following comments).

"What did Sarfati's paper have to do with creationism?": You didn't ask for something "to do with creationism". Changing the rules after the event is a lousy way to make your point.

"Sternberg's paper had nothing to do with the subject content of the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington...": So what? You asked for a paper, I cited one, so now you dismiss it with an irrelevant criticism. More changing of the rules.

"...and it was immediately disavowed": It's validity was not disavowed. Under pressure from anti-creationists/anti-ID people, the society tried to distance themselves from it. But this doesn't change that it is a peer-reviewed anti-evolution paper published in a secular science journal. You're simply trying to weasel out of the obvious.

"The third paper you mentioned was not rejected for the writer's creationist views...": That is your opinion, but just because they weren't up front about the reasons doesn't mean that wasn't the reason.

"but because the publication "… rejected it from publication on the grounds that it is not sufficiently new or different from what was known by themselves and some of their colleagues in the 1970s." ": Which was clearly a furphy, as that is not reason to not publish the paper.

"The fact that evolution is a theory accepted by the scientific establishment is not unsubstantiated.": Again, if you properly read what I wrote, that is not what I was disputing.

"But the mere incredulousness of the creationists will not undermine the vast evidence and support of evolution.": First, creationist objection is not "incredulousness", and second, you are again merely asserting "vast evidence", which is what is disputed.

If you want to argue against creationism, you need to (a) answer the actual allegations put, not simply reassert them or bring up irrelevancies, and (b) have a working knowledge of the viewpoint that you are arguing against.

I'll have to let your response speak for itself, there has been one too many administrators complaining about the 'divisiveness' of my posts. Maybe we can discuss other issues another time.--Jimmy 21:35, 1 January 2008 (EST)

Philip J. Rayment 20:56, 1 January 2008 (EST)

Evolutionist = Atheist?

Don't you think its intellectually dishonest to claim that defenders of evolution are atheists, for two reasons, # 1, most scientists are religious theists, and # 2 - quoteing sources that are anti-evolution is probably not accurrate. Also, how can religious theists have it both ways, suggesting that Charles Darwin recanted on his death bed but then suggesting he is an atheist. I for one love our lord and savior jesus and think jesus would be sad to see that us good christians are lieing on this page. -soliderforjesus

The most outspoken promoters of evolution are, like Richard Dawkins, atheists. It is a fact. Sure, some people can be found who say they both believe in evolution and are Christian, just as one can find Americans who burn the American flag. But the exceptions do not prove the rule, and there's no doubting that evolution is pushed and promoted by atheists more than by churches.--Aschlafly 23:39, 27 December 2007 (EST)
No I don't think that it's honest to do so if it is presented as an absolute rather than a generalisation. But you didn't quote the sentence, and I don't feel like looking for it from that description, so I can't comment more.
But your comment that "quoteing sources that are anti-evolution is probably not accurrate" appears to be bigoted nonsense, if I understand you correctly. Perhaps you can elaborate and/or justify?
That Darwin recanted on his death bed is an urban myth, and rejected by the leading creationist organisations. So no contradiction there.
Philip J. Rayment 02:40, 28 December 2007 (EST)
I'm not sure you're correct there. 'Most outspoken atheists believe in evolution' would probably be better. I'd imagine most atheists believe in evolution as the 'God did it' answer can't apply to them. I know a lot of theists believe in evolution, but have never heard of an atheist who did not. While all atheists may be evolutionists, not all evolutionists are atheists. I think a distinction needs to be made there. User1601 10:29, 28 December 2007 (EST)
As I said, the specific sentence wasn't quoted, so without what's likely to be a fair bit of searching, I can't comment further. Point me to the specific sentence and I will probably change it if I think it's misleading. Philip J. Rayment 01:18, 29 December 2007 (EST)
Philip, I think what he/she meant by "quoteing sources that are anti-evolution is probably not accurrate" was that the article garners most of its content from creationists attempting to debunk the evidence. I don't feel it was made in bad faith. Wisdom89 09:18, 28 December 2007 (EST)
Well, it was vague enough that you might be correct, but that's why I asked the poster to elaborate. But I'm still not sure that justifies it. It's still basically saying that those who interpret the evidence to mean something other than evolution are not accurate, does it not? Philip J. Rayment 10:01, 28 December 2007 (EST)
Just to provide you with some numbers: According to Miller et al [5], 78% of all Americans agree with the statement Over periods of millions of years, some species of plants and animals adjust and survive while other species die and become extinct, while 62% agree with Human beings were created by God as whole persons and did not evolve from earlier forms of life.. This means that at least 40% believe both, like it or not. Order 19:48, 28 December 2007 (EST)
I don't have access to that article, and perhaps it's not so bad in context, but as you've quoted it there, that first question is poorly worded. Apart from the "millions of years" bit (which is not what is being discussed), I (a young-Earth creationist, for those that don't know) could agree with that first question. So it may well not be an accurate figure of evolutionists.
Regardless, I think Andy's point was not so much about the average man in the street and what he passively "believes", but the promoters of evolution.
Philip J. Rayment 01:18, 29 December 2007 (EST)
I can't tell you what the numbers for science communicators are. If you or Andy has some, and a reference to them, I would be interested to know them, too. To access the paper Public Acceptance of Evolution by Miller, Scott, and Okamoto, you or your institution will need to have an subscription. I can tell you that if you google for Miller, Scott and Okamoto and the title "Public Acceptance of Evolution", you'll find easily a copy that is freely downloadable. The figures and questionnaire are given in the document with the supporting material. The respondents had to tell for a few statements if they were "true", "not sure" or "false". Given the statement Over periods of millions of years, some species of plants and animals adjust and survive while other species die and become extinct., 78% said "true", 16% "not sure", and 6% "false". Given the statement Human beings were created by God as whole persons and did not evolve from earlier forms of life., 62% said "true", 2% "not sure", and 36% "false". There were other statements too. As said, this are the numbers for the general public, and I don't know the numbers for science communicators, but it'd be grateful if someone could provide them. Order 09:03, 29 December 2007 (EST)
Okay, I've found the paper and the supporting material (although it took a bit of hunting for the latter, and I only found it by also searching for the text of the question, which was not in the paper, then following a link). It doesn't change what I said that the question is poorly worded. And in my searching, I found a site that said essentially the same thing (amongst other criticisms of the paper)[6] (their emphasis).
Clearly, the problem with the question is that they asked two unrelated things at once. Effectively, they asked, “Do you believe the earth is millions of years old?” and “Do you believe plants and animals adjust to their environment in order to survive?” Young earth creationists do believe in extinction and adaptation, so they might have said “yes” despite the “millions of years.
I don't know of any surveys of promoters of evolution, but this article makes the point. I'm not sure what you mean by a "science communicator", but what I (like the linked article) am talking about is the main promoters of evolution, not just the educators, text-book writers, etc.
Philip J. Rayment 06:41, 30 December 2007 (EST)
If you think that some YECer might be confused by the question, I have to take your word, but it does start with the phrase "Over millions of years". A YECer can always say, "not sure". And the site that you mentioned to be critical of Miller et al, is frankly of a fairly poor quality. To give an example, from the statement that there exists a positive correlation between genetic literacy and acceptance of evolution in as well the US and Europe, the author concludes that the US reject evolution to a higher degree is due to a higher genetic literacy. I am somewhat disappointed that the author, a programmer, choses to not understand what positive correlation entails, just to make a poor argument. The link on evolutionists that you mentioned is just a collection of anecdotal evidence. No, I was indeed asking for some decent research either a literature survey, or a poll, among science communicators, which are all the people who explain science to the public. I know that the nun that taught me evolution is school believed in theistic evolution, but as said that is also just anecdotal evidence. Order 08:41, 30 December 2007 (EST)
Saying that a YEC might be "confuse" is ignoring that the question was poorly worded, and the linked page explained why (as highlighted above): they asked two unrelated things at once.
The bit about genetic literacy cause me to have similar thoughts as the critic. It seemed as though they were saying "Americans understand genetics better than Europeans, and Americans reject evolution more than Europeans, but this is because the Americans don't really understand genetics better". In their words, "Although the mean score on the Index of Genetic Literacy was slightly higher in the United States than the nine European countries combined, results from another 2005 U.S. study show that substantial numbers of American adults are confused about some of the core ideas related to 20th- and 21st-century biology." In other words, it appeared that they were trying to explain away something that didn't fit with their theory. Rereading it, I'm not so sure that's the case, but the critic's comment appears to be along the same line. Nevertheless, the critic (rightly) ties that in with the badly-worded question. From the paper: "When presented with a description of natural selection that omits the word evolution, 78% of adults agreed to a description of the evolution of plants and animals (see table S2 in SOM)." This is the point that I was making above. Despite this comment, it is not a description of evolution, but a description of natural selection, which creationists accept (and described before Darwin) and which is not synonymous with evolution.
I don't agree that the other article I linked to is "anecdotal" per se, but I did say that I don't know of a survey as such, which indicated that the article was not a survey either.
Philip J. Rayment 09:41, 30 December 2007 (EST)
I don't think that the question is poorly worded. People should be used and able to understand sentences that tell you what happenend when. But if you tell me that you are confused, I take your word. And if you tell me that a significant percentage of YECers would be confused as well, I take your word too. But I think if someone says yes to a sentence that starts with "Over millions of years" he or she cannot believe too firmly in YEC.
If there is a positive correlation between genetic literacy and acceptance of evolution, then there is a positive correlation. You'll need to look for a different explanation to explain that the average acceptance in the US is lower while the average genetic literacy is higher. Because also in the US holds, the higher the genetic literacy, the higher the acceptance of evolution.
Yes, the question could also cover Lamarckism, and I wouldn't be surprised if many hold lamarickist views. It is often confused with the theory of evolution. And both are distinct from the phenomenon of evolution, i.e. the phenomenon that animals and plants evolve, rather than the explanation. I am not sure what you understand under evolution, but it seems to me like you want to have all the benefits of selection and mutation, combined with a young earth indeed, but that you shy away from the word "evolution". If you think that mutation and selection takes place, you believe in evolution, sorry to bring you this news. Call it young earth evolution. I guess you consider evolution to be a bad word, just like many Americans, but that doesn't mean that you don't accept the principles. It seems like you just don't like the word. But I move back to the moon page, since we had a discussion going there, and I just wanted to add to this discussion the tiny bit that quite a few people believe in an old earth, and that animals and plant evolve, combined with the view that humans were created. Order 17:52, 30 December 2007 (EST)
When I say that the question is poorly worded, I don't mean that it's not clear in a grammatical sense, but that it is poorly worded in a survey sense. People compiling survey questions need to be very careful that they word the questions carefully, else the results may not be accurate. Putting two different concepts in the one question is a poor way to word a survey question. Also, many surveys ask for you to select the statement nearest your beliefs, and even though that doesn't appear to be the case here, many people answering the survey might agree with that answer because most of it does agree with their beliefs.
I understand evolution quite well, thank you, but it appears that you don't understand the creationist view very well, or even the aspects of evolution that are important in understanding the difference between it and creation. It's a bit rich accusing us of wanting the "benefits of [natural] selection" when it was the evolutionists who pinched it from us creationists! As for mutations, we acknowledge that they exist, because they have been observed, but they are not a "benefit", because they destroy information, whereas evolution proposes (without observational evidence) that mutations create information. Hence evolution proposes that all life has developed from the first life, which creationists deny. Evolution is not just "mutation and selection", but the whole "family tree" of living things. Creationists accept mutation and selection, but deny that these can and have produced that "family tree".
Philip J. Rayment 07:53, 31 December 2007 (EST)

So, your only argument is that it is conceivable that a person might have given the wrong answer. And that is indeed conceivable. But you because it is conceivable doesn't meant that it had any significant effect. The statement "Over millions of year ..." is fairly obviously not YEC, what ever else can be misunderstood about it. And it covers a single concept, namely that over millions of years animal adapted to the environment. This would cover Lamarckism too, and I could even conceive that people who support neo-darwism would say that this statement is false. It sounds too Larmarckian. Anyway, this is just guessing, by me and by you, but I doubt that the sampling error for this statement with respect to YECers is significant, conceivable or not.

If you accept mutation and selection, you accept the basic assumptions of evolution. Abiogenesis is a separate concept, and that all life on earth is related to another is also a separate concept. It has been observed that all life on Earth is dna/rna based, but that in not a prerequisite for evolution to occur, nor for the laws of evolution to apply.

Given basic concepts of mutation and selection, the rest follows by itself, you just have to do the math. It follows that descendancy can be represented as a tree, as well as that the the average fitness will increase over time. But feel free to not believe any of this. No matter what you believe, once you observe mutation and selection, math will determine the game.

Your argument from information is kind of correct if you assume that the current collection of genotype is situated in and around a local optimum. Mutation disturbs the current genotypes in all directions evenly, and if you are in a local optimum, any direction will decrease fitness. Add selection to it and you will observe that the genotypes will move around the local optimum from generation to generation. This is well understood. The beaviour changes if the genotype isn't in the local optimum anymore, for example when the fitness criteria change. Mutation will disturb the genotype in all directions, as before, but selection will select from these directions the one that bring you closer to a local optimum. It is well known, that in a multidimensional space only a fraction of mutations points towards the optimum. But given a decent population size, the collection of genotypes will still with probability one converge towards a local optimum.

Do I hope that this convinces you? I don't need to, because once you accept mutation and selection, the rules of the games apply to you, like it or not. It really seems like you don't like the word "evolution", maybe because the Theory of Evolution in Biology assumes a single origin, or maybe because it works without divine intervention. And you are in good company. Even though quite a few Americans accept that animal adapt to the environment, a majority still believes in special creation for humans. Order 21:10, 31 December 2007 (EST)

I've looked back at the start of the discussion of the survey question, and admit that the argument got a bit sidetracked. I questioned (but didn't reject) the figure you quoted, because the question it was based on appeared to be poorly worded. You (sort of) helped me to find the actual paper, and this then convinced me that it was poorly worded. You disputed this, so I supported my contention that it was poorly worded. And I don't back off from that. However, as to whether it would make any real difference? I can't say. Perhaps it wouldn't.
"If you accept mutation and selection, you accept the basic assumptions of evolution.": That depends on what you consider to be the "basic assumptions". I most definitely do not consider that (the existence of) "mutation and selection" are adequate as "basic assumptions". For example, there's also the vital assumption that mutation and selection are capable of producing new genetic information (in the terms I'd put it) or new features, organs, abilities, etc. if you prefer.
Yes, you do like the 'information' speak. But I did address it explicitly. If a genotype is in a local optimum, you are indeed correct, mutation will move in a direction away from that optimum. In your 'information' speak this means information is lost. But selection then choses the one with least loss of information, and the genotypes will hang around the optimum. Things change when the set of genotypes isn't at a local optimum. The set of genotypes will on average move towards a local optimum. In your 'information' speak this means that from the mutations the ones with the best information get selected. So, your mistake is that you only consider the case when the genotype is at an optimum, in 'information speak' when the information is perfect. You don't consider the case when the information is imperfect. Order 09:23, 1 January 2008 (EST)
"...that all life on earth is related to another is also a separate concept.": No it's not, at least not in a realistic sense. Put it this way. The creationist view is that all life on Earth is not related (except in the sense of having a common Designer), being separately created and that natural selection and mutations both exist. So can we label what you call "evolution" as "creation"?
Even if the would be separate versions of life, the rules evolution would still apply. If we put marsupials, and placentals artificially onto an island, the rules of evolution will apply. It is just an observation that all life seems to be related. Order 09:23, 1 January 2008 (EST)
"Given basic concepts of mutation and selection, the rest follows by itself, you just have to do the math.": That's begging the question. Creationists argue that the rest doesn't follow.
Yes, creationists struggle to accept it, but what can I say. Even if they choose to ignore the rules of mathematics, they nevertheless apply to them. You cannot opt out. Order 09:23, 1 January 2008 (EST)
"Your argument from information is kind of correct ... [rest omitted]": None of what you said in that paragraph even remotely addresses the generation of new genetic information, except perhaps to the extent of assuming that mutations have that ability.
It addresses it explicitly. See above. Order 09:23, 1 January 2008 (EST)
"I don't need to, because once you accept mutation and selection, the rules of the games apply to you, like it or not.": Sorry, but I'm not playing your "game". Virtually your entire argument is one big assertion that evolution is inevitable from mutation and selection, something that I explicitly rejected in my previous post, and you've done nothing but assert it again, without any substantiation.
Call it an assertion that the rules of mathematics apply to you, regardless of whether you like it or not. If someone tells you that he can win in the game of roulette, by picking the right numbers at the right time, does this have any effect on his prospects to win? I guess not. If you enter the game, you are stuck with the fact that the bank in the end always wins. Order 09:23, 1 January 2008 (EST)
"the Theory of Evolution in Biology assumes a single origin: Doesn't that contradict your previous claim that the idea "that all life on earth is related to another is ... a separate concept"? Now you're admitting that it's not separate, but part of evolution!
No, I said on purpose 'in biology'. Which is a particular instance of evolution. And i talked about an assumption in Biology, based on observations in Biology. But it isn't essential for evolution to work. It is an assumoption based on the observation that all biological life seems to be related. Order 09:23, 1 January 2008 (EST)
"It really seems like you don't like the word "evolution", ...": Instead of trying to figure my motives, how about rereading my last post and address the points I made in that, as those points refute that claim.
Philip J. Rayment 07:35, 1 January 2008 (EST)
No, you don't refute any claim. You admit that you accept the basic rules of evolution, but that you don't like certain aspects that follow from it for biological evolution, and certain aspects that are commonly mentioned under the banner of Theory of Evolution in biology, and that it should be therefore called "creationism". But its still evolution if it includes mutation and selection, even if you don't like the word. Theistic evolution, but evolution nevertheless.Order 09:23, 1 January 2008 (EST)
You didn't answer my question: 'can we label what you call "evolution" as "creation"?'. Philip J. Rayment 09:55, 1 January 2008 (EST)
Depends on how you define "creationism". But it gets awkward if someone claims that the principles of evolution don't work, and then propose an alternative that includes the principles of evolution that make animals adapt to their environment. What is missing from real creationism is that the different species were made once at the beginning, didn't change over time, unless the creator changed them. In real creationism there is no room for adaptation through mutation and selection. It is only fair to call your proposal young earth theistic evolutionism, because that is what it looks like. Order 17:37, 1 January 2008 (EST)
"Depends on how you define "creationism". ": According to what I've said above. Now, with that clarification, please answer the question with a clear, simple, answer, such as "yes" or "no" (and if "no", then why not). Philip J. Rayment 21:01, 1 January 2008 (EST)
I told you already, what you support isn't real creationism. Real creationism assumes that the species are unchanged since the creation, unless the creator intervened. You assume that species change by mutation and selection. Probably not as only mechanism, but it is in there. And the assumptions "No change unless the creator intervenes" doesn't go together with "Change by mutation and selection". It should be called young earth theistic evolutionism, and not creationism. But if you want to call it "creationism" feel free to do so. Then we can talk about the controversy within creationism, that creationist do disagree what it actually means. 23:36, 1 January 2008 (EST)
That what I was describing is not "real creationism" and that what you describe is, is absolute, utter, abject, nonsense. You clearly have absolutely no idea what you are talking about, so this conversation is going nowhere. Philip J. Rayment 02:40, 2 January 2008 (EST)
I am now a bit confused about your comment, because I am not sure what you call nonsense: my statement, the "real creationism". But anyway, I guess I made my position clear. Order 07:57, 2 January 2008 (EST)
The 'nonsense' is your definition of creationism, and therefore also your rejection of the 'definition' (such as it was) that I gave. Philip J. Rayment 08:11, 2 January 2008 (EST)
That we disagree on how to define creationism, and how to apply the word, was knd of known since the beginning. I don't see any problem. Order 08:57, 2 January 2008 (EST)
I don't mean to abruptly interject into this discussion, but I would be remiss not to address some of the things Philip has misunderstood about mutation/genotypes. No, not all mutations are harmful, nor do they result in a loss of genetic information. This is a complete misconception, albeit common. In actually, most mutations are neutral - a minority are indeed harmful OR beneficial. Furthermore, a mutation that is harmful in one scenario may be rendered useful or neutral in another. This is the way organisms respond to their environment. Secondly, mutations absolutely can create new information. Anybody who denies this hasn't bothered to study science to its fullest - which is a shame because most of these arguments tend to go on with two or more parties who misunderstand the other viewpoints. On another forum (perhaps this one, I didn't scroll all the way up), I provided Philip with a list of observable mechanism by which new genetic information maybe created (e.g mutation, homologous recombination during gametogenesis, gene duplication, gene divergence/convergence, and transposition. If you were to heavily familiarize yourself with these concepts, you could see it easily. I'm not attempting to proselytize YECs or undermine creationism. I am, however, interested in making sure that the science isn't being misrepresented in such a way so that oneside may become "victorious" in an argument. Wisdom89 19:41, 1 January 2008 (EST)

Very sensible comment. Welcome to the discussion. --Ed Poor Talk 19:43, 1 January 2008 (EST)

I appreciate the warm welcome. Thank you Ed Poor. I just hope the discussion doesn't get heated. Hate when that happens. Wisdom89 19:49, 1 January 2008 (EST)
Without rereading what I wrote above to see how I put it, I wasn't denying that there are neutral mutations, so we agree there. Neither was I denying that there are beneficial (but information-losing) mutations. So we agree there.
"Secondly, mutations absolutely can create new information.": This is the point on which we disagree.
"Anybody who denies this hasn't bothered to study science to its fullest...": Ad hominen arguments don't help though. And this is patently false.
"I provided Philip with a list of observable mechanism by which new genetic information maybe created ...": And I most likely answered that list.
"e.g mutation": Good argument. I say that mutations don't create new genetic information. You reply by giving mutations an example of how new genetic information is created! Yeah, that's really convincing!
"homologous recombination during gametogenesis, gene duplication, gene divergence/convergence, and transposition": Just listing supposed ways is not evidence that new information is created. Gene duplication duplicates existing information, it is not new information.
In short, you've done nothing to demonstrate that the claim that mutations don't create new genetic information is incorrect beyond more mere assertions.
Philip J. Rayment 21:13, 1 January 2008 (EST)

Can you define what you mean with 'information'. I'd say that a beneficial change in a sequence qualifies as increase in 'information'. Also, duplicating substrings increases information. You need at least one extra bit of information telling you how often a string occurs, and where. You might be able to represent it efficiently, but it is nevertheless an increase in information. As said, you might be able to represent it efficiently, but it is nevertheless an increase in information. Order 21:52, 1 January 2008 (EST)

See information. Sometimes a loss of information can be a benefit, such as beetles on a windy island losing the information for growing wings, so they don't get blown into the sea and drown. Beneficial mutation is not synonymous with information-producing mutation. If you have two copies of the string instead of one, you don't need an extra bit to tell you that you have two copies. Where is the extra bit in your paragraph telling me that you have the string twice? The only way I know it's there twice is because I can count two of them. Philip J. Rayment 22:29, 1 January 2008 (EST)
First, if beneficial mutation can as well increase as well as decrease information, why do you care about the amount of information at all. All that matters is that it is beneficial.
Second, the ability to decode information, i.e. to be able to count and distinguish symbols is essential for information processing. If my reply didn't contain the information that the substring was copied twice, how were you able to tell me that it did? Order 22:46, 1 January 2008 (EST)
I disagree that any mutation, beneficial or otherwise, can increase (create new) genetic information. But to go from the first living cell to you or me, there needs to be lots of genetic information for things that the first living cell doesn't have information for, such as eyes, skin, hair, bones, blood, lungs, and so many more things.
I was able to tell that you had the sentence twice because I saw that it was there twice, not because of "at least one extra bit of information telling" me so. That extra bit, which you said was necessary, was not there, so showing that it was not necessary. Actually, on further reflection, you might reply that "As said" was that extra bit. But even if this is so, "As said" was not what alerted me to it ("As said" does not necessarily mean that you are repeating information verbatim). I simply noticed that you had repeated yourself. I didn't really notice the "As said". So even if you argue that the extra bit was there, it was still not necessary.
Philip J. Rayment 02:29, 2 January 2008 (EST)
The "as said" bit is fairly irrelevant. Your claim is that duplication doesn't add information. However, for some reason, you were able to tell that a substring was repeated twice. Where did you get that additional information from? Information that wouldn't have been there is I hadn't repeated the substring. Order 07:57, 2 January 2008 (EST)
My claim is that duplication does not generate new information. Your duplicated sentence added nothing new, it merely repeated the same information. But you had previously claimed that in duplicating information, there must also be some new information: "You need at least one extra bit of information telling you how often a string occurs, and where". That supposedly-necessary extra bit wasn't needed in your post to tell me that existing information had been duplicated. Philip J. Rayment 08:09, 2 January 2008 (EST)
I asked you how you define information for a reason, but you chose to point me to a definition, rather than give me yours. Not sure if your read that definition, and even though it is a bit sketchy, the definition that you gave suggests how to measure information. For example by how many bits you need to store that information. And even after compression, you do need a bit more space to store a duplication. Your claim was that duplication doesn't add any new information. If it added nothing new, how were you able to tell that there was a duplication? Where was the information, if not in my reply? Order 08:57, 2 January 2008 (EST)
How do you know that's not my definition? I presume that you don't want one that I simply made up, but one that I accept and use. That article was (largely) written by me. Why do you think I pointed to that article? That is "my" definition.
The bit about measuring it in terms of the number of bits was simply a measure of one aspect or level of information, the statistical level. But if you read the entire article, you will see that this level ignores the meaning of the information, whereas the definition of information in the introduction says that information has meaning. But if you wanted to know about measuring it, then the best place to look would be the section titled "Measuring information"!
"Where was the information, if not in my reply?": What "information", precisely? The duplication was not new information. I'm now figuring that you are trying to argue that your post conveyed the "information" that you had duplicated the sentence. Perhaps this is so, but it's irrelevant to what we are discussing. If an encyclopedia of places has information about, say, 1000 different places, and a printing mistake in the second edition results in the article on London being printed twice, then there is no new information in the second edition that was not in the first. Sure, somebody can say to a prospective purchaser, "I have some information about that second edition: They duplicated the London entry", but that is not information as far as the purpose of the encyclopedia is concerned. The same applies to genetic information. Duplication of genes does not add instructions for building ears, toes, marrow, livers, sweat glands, teeth, or a myriad of other things. If you want to call the fact that there has been a duplication of genes "information", it doesn't help explain where the information for fingernails, ribs, and voice boxes comes from.
Philip J. Rayment 09:27, 2 January 2008 (EST)
Maybe that's because you've completely oversimplified what a gene is. There is no fingernail, rib, voicebox, or tooth gene. You're describing phenotypes that require the combined effect of tons of genetic information utilized during embryogenesis and development of an organism, coupled with environmental effects - not to mention the differential regulation of these genes between organisms. Why is the yeast genome consist of only 6000 genes? Why does a bacterium have one circular chromosome? Where does the increased complexity come from? When genetic information is duplicated, the genome becomes larger, adds complexity, and through mutation allows the formation of paralogous elements. Genes can then diverge, become altered, create families with multiple isoforms etc..etc..Wisdom89 11:33, 2 January 2008 (EST)
Clearly I've simplified, because genes are quite complex, but I don't believe that I've oversimplified. I'm sure that there's not individual genes for each of those things, but each of those would be specified in the genes (DNA). Where does the increased complexity come from? Well, that's the question, isn't it? When the genetic information is duplicated, the genome becomes larger, but it doesn't add any new information. Mutations do not add information (i.e. stuff with meaning). This is an observational fact. The rest of your post is just the story; restating it does not make it so. Philip J. Rayment 19:54, 6 January 2008 (EST)
Before we dive into details such as the duplication of sequences on the human chromosome 16, I prefer Philip to get the nature of information, and the nature of his general claims. If duplication wouldn't increase information, as he claims, then he would not be able to tell that anything was duplicated. It is as simple as that. He wouldn't be able to say "You duplicated the substring", if that information would not be there. It might not be useful information, it might not be much information, but it is information. And thus his general claim has been disproven.
Back to your definition. It lists five levels on which information can increase, and my duplication adds information on each of them. First, it adds bits. Secondly, it is syntactical correct, and the parse tree will become bigger after duplication. And for the rest, semantically, pragmatically, and apobeticly it did succeed also to convey additional information. It was meant as a challenge to Philip's claim that duplication doesn't add information, and he immediately understood it as such. It conveyed its intended meaning, got him to act in response, and thus achieved its purpose. Philip got the message that I was challenging him on this point. So, sorry, simply by duplicating a substring, I did convey information, on each level of the definition; information that would not be there, if I hadn't duplicated it. Order 17:33, 2 January 2008 (EST)
"If duplication wouldn't increase information, as he claims, then he would not be able to tell that anything was duplicated.": Why not? Go back to the example of an encyclopedia of places, and the duplicated page for London. Anybody could tell that the article has been duplicated, but it contains no new information.
If nothing else, the only reason that you satisfied the highest level of information (apobetics) is because the duplication was done with a purpose, which is only possible because you, an intelligent being, deliberately did it. This does not apply in the case of a random genetic duplication.
Philip J. Rayment 19:54, 6 January 2008 (EST)
We were discussing if duplication can add information. And not randomness. But thanks for admitting that my duplication added information even on the highest level. I guess this disproves you claim that duplication cannot add information.
And thanks for observing that random changes cannot have and external purpose. Exactly. And that is why "information" as you use it doesn't apply to dna. Dna doesn't have semantics by itself. You might argue about pragmatics, and if doesn't have "apobetics", a teleological purpose. So, indeed, that why it it is confusing to talk about "information" in the context of genetics. See, your trick is to apply the word "information" with its lower level definitions to dna, and then switch to the full definition that you gave to sneak in your "purpose". And we can now see why that doesn't work. To summarize: You are wrong on two accounts: First, duplication adds information, and second, information in it full definition doesn't apply to dna in the first place. But we discuss this again somewhere below on this page. Order 17:55, 9 January 2008 (EST)
We were discussing if duplication can add new information. But even so, I did not admit that duplication added information.
If I'm following you, you have the argument back to front. Random changes cannot have purpose, so random changes to DNA cannot be information. I think that's what you are saying, and I agree. But DNA is information. So here is the logic:
  • Random changes don't produce information
  • DNA is information.
  • Therefore, the DNA didn't come about by random changes.
You, on the other hand, are using this logic:
  • Random changes don't produce information.
  • The DNA came about by random changes.
  • Therefore, the DNA is not information.
I haven't read ahead yet to see what further you might say on this.
Philip J. Rayment 21:07, 14 January 2008 (EST)
Presupposing that someone hasn't done their homework adequately enough isn't an ad hominem attack. That's pure rubbish. It simply means that the individual doesn't understand the science to a level sufficient enough to debunk/argue against it. In other words, their arguments become tenuous. But this ain't no crime. Ignorance on a subject isn't an insult, in fact, it can be informative if the person seeks to broaden their understanding. I do it all the time. Patently false? Really? I don't know about you, but I'm loathe to listen to a person less versed in science (e.g a layman) than a pundit who has immersed him or herself in a field of study. I reiterate. Saying that mutations cannot create new information is simply scientifically inaccurate. Secondly, no, you did not answer that list - you simply dismissed it as evolutionary rhetoric without delving deeper into any of the examples. Thirdly, sorry, but you also seem to have a limited understanding of gene duplication (no, that's not ad hominem, you're taking the name at face value). Gene duplications allow for the duplicated gene to undergo heavy mutation without deleterious effects (yep, mutation - insertion, deletion, transversion, transition of nucleotides) to create a new protein or RNA product (Paralogs). By the by, the list wasn't of "supposed ways", they ARE ways - meaning they occur regularly and have been observed. Does an offspring share an identical genome with their parents? Absolutely not. How exactly would you explain different alleles (versions of the same gene) at a chromosomal locus? Homologous recombination of sister chromatids - that's how. What about a mutation that causes a gene to encode an alternatively spliced protein with a novel function never seen before? It changes the location, regulation, or the adopted 3D structure. I'm sorry Philip, but I must insist that it is YOU who has not verily demonstrated how mutations can NOT create new genetic information. The burden of proof rests on the skeptic, especially in special circumstances where the individual is attempting to debunk scientific consensus. Wisdom89 21:58, 1 January 2008 (EST)
An ad hominem argument is one in which you make a point about the person rather than the argument. That is what you did. Perhaps you are confusing it with an abusive ad hominem argument, in which you say something nasty about the person. Perhaps you were not doing that, but that's not what I accused you of doing.
"Patently false? Really? I don't know about you, but I'm loathe to listen to a person less versed in science (e.g a layman) than a pundit who has immersed him or herself in a field of study.": Yes, patently false, because this point is not made just by me (a layman), but people who are scientists.
"I reiterate. Saying that mutations cannot create new information is simply scientifically inaccurate.": Reiteration does not make it so.
"...you simply dismissed it as evolutionary rhetoric without delving deeper into any of the examples": So you've now found the conversation? Can you point me to it? But perhaps you are correct, because if all you did was list them with no substantiation, that's about all it is.
"Gene duplications allow for the duplicated gene to undergo heavy mutation without deleterious effects (yep, mutation - insertion, deletion, transversion, transition of nucleotides) to create a new protein or RNA product (Paralogs).": Yes, gene duplication allows for the duplicated gene to undergo mutation, but if there's new genetic information generated, it was the subsequent mutations that did it, not the duplication. As for the rest (the bit about it producing a new protein or RNA product), it is still nothing more than assertion. Can you give me a specific example of an observation of brand new genetic information being generated?
"By the by, the list wasn't of "supposed ways", they ARE ways - meaning they occur regularly and have been observed.": Have been observed generating brand-new genetic information? Then you should be able to cite some examples, shouldn't you?
"Does an offspring share an identical genome with their parents?": No, but there's no new information, so this is a red herring.
"The burden of proof rests on the skeptic, especially in special circumstances where the individual is attempting to debunk scientific consensus.": The burden of proof is on the person claiming that something is rather than something isn't. I can't readily show you that something isn't the case, but you should be quite readily able to show me that something is the case, simply by giving me some examples. Richard Dawkins was once asked to cite an example of the generation of new genetic information, and was unable to do so.
Philip J. Rayment 02:15, 2 January 2008 (EST)

Evidence in Bacteria

Evolution has actually been witnessed within a human lifetime. Bacteria, as they procreate very quickly (I think the fastest is a new generation every 20 mins)they go through evolutionary processes much faster than other lifeforms on earth. I am sure all of you are aware of the new MRSA bacteria which is resistant to antibiotics. This bacteria seemed to have sprung up from nowehere and very rapidly all over the globe. How else could you explain this without using evolution? It seems to me that it is obvious that this bacteria (remembering that it is essentially the same bacteria only antibiotic resistant) has evolved to be resistant to our drugs. Following on from that, if non resistant bacteria died out to be replaced by resistant bacteria (as Survival of the Fittest would suggest) would evolution skeptics rethink their posistion? MetcalfeM

The bacteria are still bacteria, aren't they? Yet evolution is supposed to change living things into quite different living things (e.g. dinosaurs into birds). Furthermore, you haven't demonstrated that the resistance to antibiotics is due to new genetic information. All such resistances have been already existing in a subset of the population, have been transferred from other bacteria, or have been due to a mutation which decreases genetic information. Philip J. Rayment 20:04, 6 January 2008 (EST)
What you describe is absolutely true, and everyone here knows that I agree with you. However, what you have described is a form of microevolution. The resistant bacteria either acquired a mutation that rendered it resistant, or there was a transfer of plasmid DNA from another bacterium, or perhaps a bacteriophage infected the strain and altered its genome. In other words, it was a genetic transformation. Wisdom89 21:56, 2 January 2008 (EST)

Now, stop me if I am wrong here but microevolution effects populations on a small scale. Say, within a single population that shares a gene pool. An analogy could be a population of birds that inhabit a section of forest. Some sort of environmental factor such as Wisdom89 pointed out above produces a microevolution in this population of birds but is not a large scale of macroevolution. While this is correct in every sense there is something which I find interesting. MRSA is not the only super bug out there and wasn't the first. While this maybe microevolution, the scale is certainly very large and involves several different types of bacteria. MRSA was first spotted in the UK and the strain was swiftly located in hospitals around the world. What is interesting is this MRSA was originally found in hospitals, not so much throughout the community, and mainly in first world hospitals also. A bacterium would find environments in first world hospitals fairly standardized, wherever in the world, and the same antibiotics have been used. All of sudden in countries everywhere and within a short period of time were experiencing cases of MRSA. This bug is very hard to transmit (as in a human to human contagion) and would certainly be difficult for MRSA to have a chain of infection running from the UK outwards so quickly. It looks like the species "turned on" its resistance worldwide as the species was facing the same antibiotics and environmental pressures worldwide. That is a large scale evolutionary change. MetcalfeM

You should add that without sexual reproduction, it becomes a bit more difficult to define a species, because it is typically defined as a population that can interbreed and produce fertile offspring. Unicellular organisms reproduce by cell division, and you'll need to look at other criteria based on for example morphology, or genetics. Order 17:34, 3 January 2008 (EST)
Incidentally, this is also a problem with classifying creatures known only from fossils. I believe that it's rather difficult for a fossil to mate with another fossil. Philip J. Rayment 21:26, 6 January 2008 (EST)
Especially, if those fossils are from species that don't mate in the first place. Order 21:33, 6 January 2008 (EST)

What if..?

I am curious about something. Personally I am an avid believer in evolution however I am aware thats its not for everyone. However what I am wondering is that if, through future scientific study and advances, evolution was proven as fact, how would creationists and disbelievers in evolution feel? What would your next step be? I know personally if it was shown without a doubt that evolution was wrong I would sure have egg on my face. MetcalfeM

More than likely, as it usually is with science, a new theory will be formulated as more evidence is brought to light. Relativity replaced Newtons in our lifetime. Darwins's Natural Selection was replaced/revised with the Modern Evolutioary Synthesis. Once a theory is falsified or an aspect doesn't harmonize with the data, it will be replaced completely or reshaped to fit the new evidence. That's the beauty of Scienctific Theory - it's mutable and falsifiable and not subject to stagnation. The goal of creationism or evolution is certainly not to throw egg on the other's face. Wisdom89 16:46, 5 January 2008 (EST)
Goo-to-you evolution cannot be proven as fact. This is because we are talking about the evolutionary "family tree" that all living things descended from the first living thing, rather than being separately created. That is, we are talking about history, not observable, empirical, measurable, testable science. So if scientists manages to demonstrate that scales could easily be transformed into feathers (which would be a big boost to the evolutionary myth), it would still not prove that that's what actually happened 65-odd million years ago. Both evolution and creation will therefore remain as competing histories for different worldviews: creation for the Christian (and some other) worldview, and evolution for the atheistic (and some other) worldview. The relative popularities will likely change, but one can never be proved in a scientific sense. Philip J. Rayment 20:11, 6 January 2008 (EST)
This kinda sounds like one of those classic misapprehensions that some Creationists have regarding Evolution. 1.) Biological evolution is not linear from bacteria to humans (although I think you already knew that, but, the "Goo-to-you" label is such a misnomer), and 2.) You are implying that Evolution has somehow stopped, as though it was some kind of archaic biological process that no longer exists. The fact is that Evolution is still occurring today and will continue to do so, so long as life exists on this planet. That is what allows it to be falsifiable, observable and empirical. Otherwise, it wouldn't be a Scientific Theory espoused by the scientific community. Wisdom89 17:25, 15 January 2008 (EST)
In what way are you using "linear"? I know that it's not necessarily a straight line, and I know that there are branches off the line, but there is (supposedly) a line from bacteria (or something similar) to humans, so "goo-to-you" evolution is an accurate description. No, I'm not proposing that it has stopped, although I can understand why you say that. So yes, technically you are correct, that we should be able to observe it in the present, but it is supposed to occur so slowly (according to some versions) that we haven't been observing it long enough to see it happening. And even if we argue that there's been enough time to see something, the point is that we haven't seen any evidence of goo-to-you evolution. That is, we've seen mutations, and we've seen natural selection, but goo-to-you evolution requires the addition of copious amounts of new genetic information (for wings, arms, and legs, for example) and we haven't seen those sorts of changes at all. According to the theory, 99.9999% (approximately) of evolution that has occurred so far has already occurred, so calling it history is entirely accurate, even allowing for that 0.0001% that might be in the present rather than the past. So that history is not falsifiable, thus not truly scientific. The only part that is falsifiable (that is truly evolution and not also part of the creation model) has not actually been observed, despite many searches, which suggests that the idea is wrong. Philip J. Rayment 07:43, 16 January 2008 (EST)

Of course we are not in the business of egging each other, that died out when I was 10, however my point was this. I dont believe in creation and would argue it at length however if I was wrong and there was irrefutable (spelling?) proof of creation I would certainly have to have a look at my belief system. But if there was total proof of evolution and, larger, an old earth what would the ramifications be for those syops, Aschlafly and the like, and their view of the world. That is my question. How would affect those who believe in Young Earth Creationism and the like. What changes would be made to their beliefs? MetcalfeM

The same applies for the age of the Earth. It is a matter of history, not empirical science, so can never be proved one way or the other, although each side can put forward evidence that is more consistent with their point of view. Philip J. Rayment 20:11, 6 January 2008 (EST)
I have no preconceived notions, and believed evolution and old earth most of my life. However, I then spent several years looking into the facts, asking questions of evolutionists, debating issues, etc. I found that the evidence is against the theories. I also found that most of the promoters of evolution believe it must have occurred and many will even admit that in candid moments. Atheists, for example, have no other theory. No amount of new evidence is going to change someone's view if they insist something must have occurred.--Aschlafly 19:09, 5 January 2008 (EST)
There is still Lamarickism, although that has been mostly debunked. But is still a popular misconception. And there are even atheist creationists. I went once to a talk on creationism given by an atheist medical doctor. He gave the same talk on irreducible complexity, Behe, and Dembski that you would expect from any creationist. And he also stressed that the identity of the designer was unknown and left open on purpose, but personally he believed that the creators were aliens. I guess this proves Andy's point that people go to great length to mold a theory to fit their preconceptions. Order 20:37, 5 January 2008 (EST)
An atheistic creationist??? He shouldn't just be giving a talk, he should be traveling with the circus. Over 90% of atheists not only believe in evolution, but they believe that evolution must have occurred regardless of the evidence.--Aschlafly 20:40, 5 January 2008 (EST)
Thanks for providing the 90% figure. It would be nice to have a reference for it, since good data is difficult to find. Not sure if he should go to a circus. Admitted, it is a rather unusual combination, atheism and creationism, but even Behe states that an alien creator is a possibility [7]. Order 01:17, 6 January 2008 (EST)
User:Order, you deny the obvious and embrace the implausible. Don't expect references for obvious and indisputable statements of fact.--Aschlafly 10:02, 6 January 2008 (EST)
There is nothing stopping an individual from believing that the "creator" was a highly advanced civilization (or some other entity - I thought that was the basis for ID, or are proponents of said concept parochial liars?). It would still be a form of Creationism, a rather rare and stupid one, but it would certainly fall under the heading. If said individual also was an atheist, then there you have it. It's a hypothetical, just saying. About the whole statistics thing, 90% might be right, but all numbers should be backed up with evidence. Also, tangentially (to this subject) it is wholly possible to be an evolutionist and a devout Christian. Harmonizing the beliefs, IMHO, is quite easy to do. Wisdom89 10:38, 6 January 2008 (EST)
Wisdom89, I don't agree that evolution and Christianity can be easily harmonized. If evolution is true, then the Genesis account of creation is not literal. Since the fall of man is part of that Genesis account, it follows that it is also not literal. If man never fell, there was no point to Jesus' coming to earth and death on the cross, and Christianity is the world's biggest lie. ~ SharonTalk 09:06, 8 January 2008 (EST)
This is a reiteration of a post I made below - "Well, that's only a problem if you decide to read the bible in a literal manner, a book, mind you, which was written by men, fallible men, and the text, originally in Greek, translated into thousands of languages and passed down for thousands of years. If you have a problem harmonizing Evolution with your religious beliefs, then all I can say is, that's a shame. I know quite a few people who can, and most of them are scientists. Wisdom89 17:29, 15 January 2008 (EST)" The point is this - I have absolutely no problem believing in Evolution and God. I was raised Catholic, attended weekly mass, was baptized, received communion, and confirmed as a child. Then I was exposed to other teachings, things that appeared contradictory to what was taught in the Bible - however, I didn't have a spiritual meltdown. I realized what was most important was the teachings, not the story. Wisdom89 17:34, 15 January 2008 (EST)
There's many errors and unsubstantiated assumptions in that post. When discussing an issue with someone, you need to start with common ground, not start with assumptions that the other side doesn't accept. You can argue points that they don't accept, but not start with them. Only the New Testament was written in Greek. Most of the Old Testament was written in Hebrew. Our modern English translations have been made directly from the Hebrew and Greek, not via "thousands of languages". (Sure, it has been translated from Hebrew and Greek into thousands of languages, but that's something totally different and irrelevant here.) The Bible claims to be inspired (ultimately written) by God (using humans, similar to a modern author using a "ghost writer"), so is infallible. Yes, I've simply asserted that rather than proved that, but that is exactly what you did when claiming that it was written by fallible men. Yes, it has been passed down for a few thousand years, but we know that the transmission of the text over that time was done very accurately, so that is not an issue.
You might know many people who claim to believe both evolution and the Bible, but it simply cannot be done without doing damage to one or the other, usually the Bible. For example, how do you harmonise the biblical claim that the Earth was created before the Sun with the evolutionary view that says the opposite, without resorting to claiming that the Bible doesn't really say that. That's not harmonisation. That's distortion. (And that's just one of scores of examples, and not even the most serious discrepancy.)
I "harmonize" the claim by realizing that the Book of Genesis is not to be taken literally. You may feel otherwise, and that's perfectly fine with me. Honest. Children are impressionable, we (friends and siblings) didn't question anything said or preached during mass because 1.Church was viewed as a Mandatory Sunday chore, and 2.)We weren't exposed to anything else. It wasn't until I got a little older did I start to notice the discrepancies - The existence of the dinosaurs for instance (which btw, a priest kindly explained to me (at the age of 11) that the six day creation story doesn't necessarily claim to be the standard 24 hour days we are familiar with - a simple and very common "distortion" as you call it). I was raised a certain way, then inundated myself with science, so I was able to unite the two ideas and retain my faith. I don't find it very congenial of you to undermine that. Wisdom89 16:16, 17 January 2008 (EST)
Is it possible to "realise" something that isn't the case? Because it was meant to be taken literally. That's not just what I "feel". That's is the view of the experts: see the quote from James Barr here.
How is the existence of Dinosaurs a "discrepancy"? The Bible doesn't say that they didn't exist. You seem to be finding "discrepancies" where none exist.
Your priest was wrong. The Bible defines it's use of the word "day": Each day had an evening and a morning, for one thing. Secondly, the Hebrew language does not allow for other than 24-hour days in that context. See the section of the article linked above.
I make no apologies for "undermining" error. In fact I'm following biblical principle:
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2_Corinthians 10:5
Philip J. Rayment 03:58, 18 January 2008 (EST)
You might have no problem believing in both evolution and God, but it would not be the God of the Bible, Your god used millions of years of death and suffering to produce man. That's not the God of the Bible, Who, for example, declared everything in his perfect creation to be "very good", and declared death to be an enemy.
Yikes, MY God? This is quite an abrasive way to phrase things. If you insist on saying that, then I'll just respond in kind, stating "your God" sent the great flood and killed everyone on Earth except Noah and his family with two of each animal on earth (That's one enormous ship). Your God wreaked havoc on Egypt by unleashing the ten plagues, killing the innocent first born in the process. Your God helped free the Israelites, but killed the pursuing Egyptians after parting the Red Sea. Yes, yes, they were "bad men", but still. Your God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah (yes, I know, the sinful cities of immorality) even after Abraham pleaded with him, and turned Lot's Wife into a pillar of salt. Hardly the work of a just and benevolent deity. Do you see what I'm getting at? Please, please don't presume to tell me what "my" or "your" God does. I am a Christian too, and I find it disrespectful. Wisdom89 16:16, 17 January 2008 (EST)
Yep "my" God sent the flood (as recorded in the Bible), killing all on Earth except those on the ark (as recorded in the Bible) (the size is recorded in the Bible too, by the way. It was big.) My God killed the first-born (all have sinned, so none are truly "innocent") (as recorded in the Bible). My God freed the Israelites (as recorded in the Bible), killing the pursuing Egyptians (as recorded in the Bible). My God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah (as recorded in the Bible), and yes they were sinful (as recorded in the Bible). (God agreed to Abraham's pleading, but the cities didn't meet Abraham's criterion.) My God turned Lot's wife into a pillar of salt for disobedience (as recorded in the Bible). How is any of this not the work of a just God? The Bible says that God can't stand sin, which was introduced by man's disobedience, and all these events that you describe are the punishment of sin. Your god took billions of years involving much death and suffering as a necessary part of creating man, without being able to blame the suffering on sin. This is contrary to what is recorded in the Bible. See the difference? Why shouldn't I tell you what my God does, if it's what's recorded in the Bible. As for what your god did, well, you told me that! Philip J. Rayment 04:09, 18 January 2008 (EST)
Your admission that evolution appeared to be contrary to the Bible gives the game away, and the only way you reconciled the two was to change what you thought the Bible was saying. Why didn't you, for example, conclude that the millions of years of evolution are not literal? Why was it that you accepted the evolutionary timescale produced by fallible men who were not there to see it happen (there's no dispute over that point) over the biblical timescale related by the infallible God who was there to see it happen (He caused it), and is quite capable of communicating that to us? And how can the "teaching" of a story be valid if the story itself is false?
Philip J. Rayment 08:02, 16 January 2008 (EST)
I concluded that the Bible was not literal because of the mountains of scientific evidence that support Evolution, which is a branch of biology that I have studied intently for the last 10 years during my undergraduate and graduate career. Mind you, it is not my major though, just wanted that to be clear. In my eyes, evolution does not oppose religion. Anyway, this is not a slight at the Holy Book, it's merely a matter of logic (to me at least). Do I take a book at face value and dismiss empiricism, or do I conduct my own research into the matter and come to a solid conclusion? I chose the latter. That's all. As I mentioned already, I still believe in God and intend to raise my children Catholic as I was. At some point, I am sure they will make their own decisions regarding what exactly to believe - and whatever it is, I'll respect that. Wisdom89 16:16, 17 January 2008 (EST)
You concluded that the Bible was not literal because of something outside the Bible, and that something was an idea that was designed to replace God. Saying that evolution does not oppose religion is missing the point. It doesn't oppose some religions, such as atheism, but it does oppose the Bible, which clearly says, for example, that God created the word in six days. Or do you think that the Ten Commandments were not literal also?
The problem with your argument is that evolution is not empiricism. Nobody has ever seen a fish change into an amphibian, an amphibian into a reptile, a reptile into a bird, or etc. This is the atheists' origin myth, not science. The parts of the idea that are empirical are consistent with the biblical account. You say that you did your own research. Fair enough. But how much (please answer this) did you research the arguments of the creationists? How many YEC books and magazines did you read? Or was your research all one-sided?
Philip J. Rayment 04:16, 18 January 2008 (EST)

Normally, I leave theology alone but I believe it should be pointed out that we are assuming that the bible is infallible. We have no honest proof that it is or that it is not, we take its word for the most part leading to many different interpretations. We know that science is fallible and therefore make changes to the assumptions as new data is presented. In the case of using the bible as the authority we run into problems when the data conflicts with what is presented in the bible. James Hutton is a prime example of what happens when the data and the bible do not equalize. That is the issue between science and religion, it is assumed that religion knows all while science is discovering. This is key in the fact that science can be wrong, admit it and move on, while a religion that has been shown to be wrong will crumble due to people losing faith. Hence the reasons why so many people will deny and misdirect when question often occur about their religion when they do not have the answers. Personally I harmonize my faith and science by keeping in mind that the bible was written almost two thousand years ago and has been translated several times leading to so many different denominations of Christianity that most people are not truly certain as to what is come. As such I keep in mind that science is about the exploration of what was created, through techniques and theories we better understand the world around us. To inhibit exploration and discovery is folly on man's part due to the assumption that man knows it all and needs not learn or discover more...--Able806 09:09, 16 January 2008 (EST)

Yes, that the Bible is infallible is an assumption so far in this discussion. But it's an idea that has been well-supported in other places. But it does not follow that this leads to many different interpretations. If anything, assuming that it is not infallible would lead to that, as it allows more leeway to reject parts that we don't like.
Science is supposed to be self-modifying, and to a fair extent is, but it is also based on assumptions that are sometimes not allowed to be challenged. One is the assumption of naturalism. So science is no different in that regard.
"In the case of using the bible as the authority we run into problems when the data conflicts with what is presented in the bible." (my emphasis): That claim has an unstated assumption that this will actually happen. If the Bible is the infallible Word of God, then this will never happen, or if it does, it's because we've misread the data. So you are not arguing from evidence or logic there, but from anti-biblical assumption.
"James Hutton is a prime example of what happens when the data and the bible do not equalize.": No, in Hutton's case it was not the data and the Bible that disagreed, but his assumption (of uniformitarianism) and the Bible that disagreed. In effect, he simply declared the biblical account to be wrong.
"That is the issue between science and religion, it is assumed that religion knows all while science is discovering.": Two problems there. One, nobody claims that religion knows all. Creationists propose that the Bible gives an accurate historical framework, but that there is still plenty to learn; still plenty of flesh to put on the bones. Second, this is still not an issue unless your assumption that the Bible is not always correct is true.
"This is key in the fact that science can be wrong, admit it and move on, while a religion that has been shown to be wrong will crumble due to people losing faith.": Again, you assume that the Bible will be shown to be wrong. Christianity is based firmly on evidence. Paul said that if the resurrection didn't happen, it's all pointless. You seem to be arguing that the religion should survive even if it's shown to be wrong. That's not what Christianity teaches. If Christianity or the Bible is wrong, Christianity should die. But it hasn't been shown to be wrong, and by faith (which is trust based on evidence) I believe that it can't be, because it is correct.
"Personally I harmonize my faith and science by keeping in mind that the bible was written almost two thousand years ago and has been translated several times leading to so many different denominations of Christianity that most people are not truly certain as to what is come.": As I've responded to a separate post above, it's not possible to harmonise the Bible and evolution without doing damage to one. The different denominations are not (for the most part at least) due to different translations.
"To inhibit exploration and discovery is folly on man's part due to the assumption that man knows it all and needs not learn or discover more...". And nobody wants to inhibit research, but keep in mind that scientific research only came about because of a Christian worldview, and the current atheistic naturalism worldview is holding back science and potentially killing it. (An example of holding back science is not investigating some body organs and so-called 'junk DNA' on the assumption that they were evolutionary leftovers. It will potentially kill it because it denies the foundational assumptions on which it is based, that God created an ordered universe capable of being studied, and gave us minds capable of study. Atheistic teaching is that it's all a giant cosmic accident so that the obvious order is an illusion and our minds are simply chemical processes that give us no choice on what to think.)
Philip J. Rayment 10:12, 16 January 2008 (EST)
I have heard Christopher Hitchens making the same argument - that if both evolution is true and that God exists, then He allowed humans to suffer horribly for tens of thousand of years before the advent of civilisation (and after of course). Therefore evolution and Abrahamic deism cannot co-exist. I'm not sure that argument holds water, to be honest. That claim assumes that God shouldn't allow suffering and yet He does allow it as is witnessed on the news everyday. The theological question should be why does God allow suffering? Whether it's been going on for 6,000 years or 160,000 years in irrelevant, IMHO. Ajkgordon 08:11, 16 January 2008 (EST)
No, it does not assume that God would not allow suffering. The difference is whether the death and suffering were part of God's "very good" creation, or were subsequent to the Fall. God "allowed" death and suffering after the fall, because we decided to go our own way instead of doing what God said, but prior to that, there was no death nor suffering. Philip J. Rayment 08:31, 16 January 2008 (EST)
Which is why, deep down, many want evolution to be true, because one way or another, it means that they don't have to answer to their Creator. Philip J. Rayment 09:16, 8 January 2008 (EST)
I am not sure what I am supposed to be denying, but that there exist creationists that believe that the creator is an alien, is pretty much an established fact. And that Behe explicitly allows for the creator to be an alien is also a fact. I can report on their opinions without agreeing with them. But even if I disagree with them, they still believe what they believe: some that the creator could be an alien, and others that he actually is an alien. Order 18:06, 6 January 2008 (EST)

I have heard before of atheistic creationists, but would not have been able to name one. They would be extremely rare beasts. It also depends on what one means by "creationist". Quite a few (although still a small minority, probably) do believe that aliens seeded life here on Earth, and it then evolved from that point. So do you call them creationists or evolutionists? I would call them evolutionists. And of course, even if you believe that aliens created living things here on Earth, then who created the aliens? Or did they evolve? The point is, proposing that aliens did it only removes the ultimate cause one step further, and that further step is beyond our investigation. Ultimately you have to believe (against all observation, I might add) that everything created itself and life came from non-life for no reason, or you have to believe in a supernatural creator.

Although some of the ID people are creationists, I believe that some of them are undecided on a creator, and are simply going where the evidence leads.

Wisdom89, it is not easy to harmonise belief in the Bible with evolution, without discarding quite a bit of one of the views (usually the Bible, unfortunately). The order of the appearance of thing (earth vs. sun, plants vs. sea life, etc.) is quite different, the time scale (6 days vs. billions of years) is so different as to be ludicrous, and theologically, the Bible has death being a result of man's sin, not something that was necessary to produce man. Philip J. Rayment 20:23, 6 January 2008 (EST)

Well, that's only a problem if you decide to read the bible in a literal manner, a book, mind you, which was written by men, fallible men, and the text, originally in Greek, translated into thousands of languages and passed down for thousands of years. If you have a problem harmonizing Evolution with your religious beliefs, then all I can say is, that's a shame. I know quite a few people who can, and most of them are scientists. Wisdom89 17:34, 15 January 2008 (EST)
I've answered this where you repeated it above. Philip J. Rayment 08:19, 16 January 2008 (EST)
So, Wisdom89, what you're saying is that we should reject the Creation as written in the Bible, and accept the theory of evolution as fact, even though it was written by men, fallible men... Karajou 17:38, 15 January 2008 (EST)
I am absolutely NOT telling ANYONE what they should and should not believe. I am speaking about myself only, and somewhat anecdotally. As I said, there is an obvious conflict if a person chooses to take the Bible verbatim. If they do not, then it's easier to unite the two ideas. I do not read the Bible in a literal manner. If you don't accept Evolution, that is your belief, that is your choice. Wisdom89 18:53, 15 January 2008 (EST)
Yes, it is my choice to accept the Bible's version of events as opposed to evolution, for several reasons:
1. I don't accept something by anyone who emphatically states evolution is a fact when they themselves state "I don't know" when asked how it occurs.
2. If evolution os a fact, then prove it via the Scientific Method. In short, show me a one-toed horse evolved from a four-toed horse by replicating the hypothesis in the lab; don't insult mine or anyone else's intellegence by pointing to a couple of skeletons and "saying" it happened. In legal-speak that would be called hearsay.
3. People here and elsewhere have contantly stated the the Bible is in error by using the classic line "it was written by fallible men". Well, science is written by fallible men as well, and these same fallible men came up with Piltdown man; these same fallible men have "said" the ceolacanth was extinct when it wasn't; these same fallible men say that evolution is faslifiable like any other science, but when shown the evidence that it is false, they act like it's a lie.
4. Current events right now are fulfilling Biblical prophecies written more than two thousand years ago; if the Bible is "just a book", as you said, then this wouldn't be happening. Period.
Like you said, you made a choice, and that one is a belief in evolution. I made the choice of the Bible, in part because the events recorded in it fit with the historical, archaeological, and prophetic records. You can believe what you want to. Karajou 04:47, 16 January 2008 (EST)

Karajou, just to clarify:

1. Would you prefer a physician who would say "I don't know for sure" compared to the physician who said they always knew?
2. There are many examples of mutation occurring in the lab for higher animals but not to the point of causing large phenotype changes, this would take time for higher level organisms (you basically ask for reproduction of something that has taken tens of thousands of years to occur). However there is proof of the creation of highly specific multi protein structures that have evolved from lesser proteins to provide a greater advantage to the organism. These observations have been documented and were found in lower life forms after almost 20 years of study. My post about HIV1 is a prime example.
3. Your point is well taken, and to further support it we will continue to find charlatans and untruths as this is what science inadvertently does during its course of discovery. To add to this comment the same can be applied to religion, charlatans and people who take advantage of others, but a few bad apples do not make the whole rotten. As is the case of science and religion, it is the sum of the contributions.
4. I would disagree with your assessment. I am well read on the bible and the same could be said for WWII and for several other eras where civilization was tense due to internal strife. I would question the passage in revelations about Jesus returning on a white horse Rev 19:15. and leading the armies of heaven on white horses. Would you go into battle on a horse this day and age? Since it is not rational to take this literally we often see this as a metaphorical passage in the bible. As such it leads to various interpretations therefore allowing for almost any condition where the populous is unsatisfied to meet the conditions for the rapture. --Able806 10:03, 16 January 2008 (EST)
I might leave Karajou to answer most of them, but on that last one, the language of Revelation is clearly apocalyptic, whereas the language of Genesis is clearly narrative. You're comparing chalk and cheese. Philip J. Rayment 10:33, 16 January 2008 (EST)

Very good observation but just to question, where in the bible does it state that Revelation is not to be take literally compared to the rest of the bible? I have not discovered a passage to indicate this, as such if I were to take the bible as the literal word of god (and all of the claims within) then I have to take revelation as literal as well. Using logic one would conclude that the chapters of the bible are conjunctions (absolute truths, in that there is no indicator that the chapters are false) as such to claim that part of the bible is to be taken literally without a disjunction occurring somewhere in the bible makes it a logical fallacy. What I ask is where and what is the disjunction?--Able806 11:08, 16 January 2008 (EST)

Able, in actuality, I'm fairly certain that there is a preface (maybe from John) that the book of Revelations is NOT to be taken word for word. Someone with more knowledge of the Bible will have to corroborate that. Wisdom89 16:29, 17 January 2008 (EST)
I will look through my bible tonight to see. I have a couple of versions to go through, NIV, KJV. I am interested since this has been an issue for me.--Able806 17:23, 17 January 2008 (EST)
The Bible is not all to be taken literally just like not everything I say is to be taken literally. The Bible does employ poetic language, metaphor, parables, and apocalyptic language. If I say "My grandfather passed away", I don't precede it with, "The following comment utilises a metaphor". Similarly, Revelation doesn't have an explicit statement that it uses apocalyptic language. But these things can by determined from the style of language and the context. As I've mentioned before, the style of language of Genesis 1 (for example) is narrative. Therefore that part of the Bible is meant to be taken literally. However, that doesn't mean that Revelation is false. A metaphor still conveys a truth (that my grandfather died, for example), even though it doesn't do it will literal meanings. Your comment of a disjunction is interesting, because that applies to the creation story, depending on your point of view. I wonder if Wisdom89, for example, believes in a literal Adam and Eve. If not, then where in the geneaologies, such as the one in Luke, was a literal person the son of a non-literal person? Where does the continuous biblical history switch from non-literal to literal? And if he does believe in a literal Adam and Eve, then he still has a problem, because Luke doesn't start with Adam, but says that Adam came from God, not from an ape. Philip J. Rayment 04:45, 18 January 2008 (EST)
"...there is an obvious conflict if a person chooses to take the Bible verbatim": There is? Where? I haven't come across it. Or perhaps you mean that there's an obvious conflict if a person chooses to take the Bible as written and to take the pronouncements of fallible men on evolution as true? Yes, there is a problem then, but that doesn't mean that the solution is to reject the biblical account as accurate narrative. We are to trust God over men, so I choose to believe the Bible, not the ideological beliefs of evolutionary scientists who go beyond science to argue for things that have never been seen. By the way, the experts say that the creation account in Genesis was written as history, not poetry, metaphor, or etc. So on what basis do you read it as something other than literal history? Yep, on the basis of the beliefs of scientists who are in many cases atheists. That makes a lot of sense. Not. Philip J. Rayment 08:19, 16 January 2008 (EST)
The problem with a supernatural creator is that he is supernatural, i.e. it is unclear how he would interfere with the natural stuff. But that aside, there are quite some people who believe that we are living in simulation of some kind, or in a something that was created within an bigger alternative universe. Sure, not too many, but it is an idea you hear now and then, no matter how weird it might sound to us. Any solution to the problem of infinite regress that can be applied to deities ("What was there before god?"), can be evenly easily applied to aliens, especially those in an alternative universe, or those that run this place as a simulation.
To be undecided on the identity of the creator is actually one of the key points that IDers make, namely that it does not study the intelligence itself (Dembski [8]), and that the intelligence might be an alien (Behe). It is a crucial point in their argument that ID is scientific. But i figure that this is one of the points of contention between ID and real creationist. As you see, I am all in favor to teach the controversy:)
If it is easy or not combine evolution and theology very much depends on your theology. Catholic Church for example has little problems. But we discussed this already into its details. Order 21:00, 6 January 2008 (EST)
I accept that you might be "unclear" how a supernatural being would "interfere" with the natural, but how does that make it a "problem".
God, is outside of time, because the time-space continuum that is our universe was part of His creation. Aliens would exist in time, and in the universe, so there is no way you can use the same explanation. As God is outside of time, "what was there before God?" is a nonsense question, as it assumed the existence of time.
I agree that to be undecided on the Creator is one of the points of ID, but that refers to an official position, whereas I was referring to the beliefs of the individuals.
If you want to see what creationists think of the ID movement, you might find this informative.
Philip J. Rayment 21:23, 6 January 2008 (EST)
It makes it a problem, because it otherwise just becomes a "just-so story". If you say that A did something to B, you might want to first to establish is A had the ability to influence B at all.
If we are in a simulation, or embedded in an alternative universe, the being running our universe is also not bound by our rules. Who knows if they have time as we know it. The question, "what was the before the alien?" would be a nonsensical question, too, in an alternative universe without time, or a different version of time.
If ID makes a point to distinguish between an official position, and their privately held beliefs, we might want to do the same, and ignore their personal beliefs. Especially, since they could be anything. Thanks for the link on ID. Apparently there was also an AiG-CMI dispute, but I guess it wasn't on content.Order 21:45, 6 January 2008 (EST)
You might want to establish that A can influence B, but with no reason to suppose that A can't influence B, it doesn't really seem to me to be a "problem".
If the alien was also outside of time, then that "alien" is really more akin to the supernatural God than to what we understand by "aliens".
I basically agree with leaving the IDers' personal beliefs out of it, but they seemed to be what was being raised in the discussion, so I responded accordingly.
Yes, there is (still) a CMI/AiG dispute, but that's a totally different sort of thing than what we are talking about here, and as you indicate, not about content.
Philip J. Rayment 22:16, 6 January 2008 (EST)
If you are happy with a logical possibility, rather than something more substantial, I can live with that. It is logically possible that my cat determines the weather on the East-Coast, but that doesn't make it true, nor believable. To explain how my cat influences the weather, is the least bit you could ask me to do.
I don't know what you think about your deity, but if it were an alien in another universe, it would be rather disappointing, don't you think. It might be the alternative universe equivalent of an prepubescent computer geek, with rather unhealthy habits. Not sure I would call such an alien "god". Order 22:29, 6 January 2008 (EST)
The comparison with your cat is invalid, because we do have a fair idea of what cats are capable of, and determining the weather is not something within that capability. And in a sense we do have an idea of what God is capable of, even if we don't understand the mechanics of how it works. That is, almost by definition, God is capable of creating and interacting with the universe; if not, He wouldn't be God.
An alien in another universe is not outside of time, even if he/it is outside of our time/space continuum, and is more like what we believe aliens to be than like what we mean by "God".
Philip J. Rayment 03:08, 7 January 2008 (EST)
I am a bit surprised that you feel like continuing this rather absurd discussion, but you are more than welcome. Even though you find it highly unlikely, it seems like we agree that it is logically possible for my cat to determine the weather. Good. And I agree that there is little evidence that cats, in particular my cat, influence the weather. But I guess that there is likewise not much testable evidence that supernatural beings interfere with our world either. Or do you have a such test?
You can be free to define things as you want, but as with any definition, there is no guarantee that it actually exists. I could define the concept weather cat, which are cats with the capability to determine the weather. By definition they have the capability to determine the weather. And I define furthermore, that weather cats are indistinguishable from other cats. So, by definition, you won't be able to tell me that my cat isn't a weather cat. See, this discussion becomes absurd quite quickly.
So, back to more serious shores. Technically, it appears that in our universe time cannot be separated from space, and that simple Newtonian notions of time seem to apply not even to our own universe. I am not sure what you know about the existence of space time or the characteristics of space time in alternative universes, but I see no reason why any of our conceptions of space time have to apply to another universe? It might not even have time at all. Nor space. But it might have the equivalent to a prepubescent computer geek who might be running a simulation. Who knows? Do you? Order 06:29, 7 January 2008 (EST)
My point about your cat was that we can argue from what we do know, rather, as you were claiming for God, what we don't know.
Yes, a "weather cat" (which could hypothetically exist but is most unlikely to exist on Earth, else we would probably have some indication of it, so I'd reject that your cat is one) could determine the weather. So the question becomes whether or not there is any evidence for either (a weather cat or God).
There is no evidence (that I know of!) for a weather cat. But there is evidence for a supernatural God. In a nutshell, it is that everything that begins has a cause (an observed an widely-accepted scientific principle), and this universe had a beginning (agreed by virtually everyone these days), so it had a cause, and that cause must be outside of the natural/material universe, so the creator of the natural universe must be supernatural.
Hey, most of the discussions I have are trying to refute "absurd" ideas! This is no different!  :-)
Philip J. Rayment 06:55, 7 January 2008 (EST)
The strongest evidence that weather cats exists is that the weather is extremely unpredictable, just like cats. How else do you explain sudden changed in weather. And as said, it if by definition very difficult if not impossible to identify a weather cat, but this is exactly what you would expect, according to their definition. Cats are deceptive by definition, weather cats even more so.
The argument from cause has two problems. First, we still have a hard time to define what it means to be a "cause". The idea of a chain of events is in any case inadequate, and if anything is scientifically established, then that it extremely hard to define cause properly. And given a definition, it is still difficult to determine the "cause" of an event. Anyway, all the causes that have been observed, under the most accepted definitions, are causes that originate in this world, and not supernatural causes. If you say that your god is a cause like all the others we observe, he'd be natural, not supernatural.
But, more to the point, suppose there would be something that caused the origin of the world, we do not know exactly much about it, nor that it matters. For all that we know the original cause could be an inanimate object or an inanimate force. And of course, there is no evidence that this something, is identical with your god. This something could still be prepubescent computer geek from an alternative universe. Or his cat. Order 08:41, 7 January 2008 (EST)
How else do I explain sudden changes in the weather? I'm not expert on meteorology, but due to highs and lows, warm fronts and cold fronts, etc. These are all predictable (in the short term) without resort to weather cats.
Rather than arguing against me, you seem to be arguing against the well-accepted principle of cause and effect. So I won't respond to that. Yes, most if not all observed causes are natural ones, but a natural cause can not be the cause of "nature" (the universe) itself, because a related principle is that something cannot cause itself. The only option left is a supernatural cause.
We can deduce certain things about the Creator. I can't at the moment find an article that I read about this, but there is this one which explains at length the argument that I put very briefly above, and at the end touches on the point that the Ultimate Cause must be a personal creator. it specifically addresses your claim that it could be an inanimate object or force.
But I'd like to ask you a question: Is it more reasonable to believe that something (or someone) created the universe, or that it just popped into existence out of nothing for no reason?
Philip J. Rayment 06:48, 8 January 2008 (EST)
How often do the weather man get it wrong? Quite often. And it would be entirely in the character of cats to behave like that.
The well-accepted principle of cause and effect, is not at all that well-accepted. It only applies to very specific situations. Every event has typically many causes, many sufficient causes, many insufficient causes, and it is not always trivial to pick the "real" cause from these. The "real" cause is often defined as "insufficient and non-redundant part of unnecessary but sufficient causes". Have fun applying this definition, or any of its alternatives. But as a shortcut, think about how often people argue about what did cause an event.
I see no problem with an infinite chain/tree of natural causes. Just as little as I see a problem with an infinite series of numbers that is bounded. Your argument that there must be a first cause is not much different from the Zeno's argument that movement is impossible. His argument was that Achilles can never pass a tortoise. Because whenever Achilles made up for half of the distance to the tortoise, the tortoise moved on a bit. And then Achilles would have to cross another half, and another half, etc. Zeno assumed that you can't have an infinite number of steps that is bounded, and concluded that Achilles can't pass he tortoise. But we all know that we can have an infinite number of steps that is bounded. Take the geometric series. Likewise, in between any two events, one causing the other, you got another event. I see no reason why you could not have an infinite series of causes, that is still all natural, bounded by this universe.
I'd rather have you explain me why you think that it must be a personal creator, than quoting some person. But if he showed that it must be a personal creator, did he by any chance confirm that it was an prepubescent computer geek in another universe? Or was it his cat?
Thanks for you final question, because that is probably the core of the argument. I do not claim that something popped into existence out of nothing. I have never seen anything popping into existence out of nothing and I doubt anyone else. It strikes me as absurd as assuming that somebody or something created things out of nothing. The only exception would be the creation of matter and anti-matter, but for some reason or another, this is probably not how the universe as we know it got started. The only thing we ever saw is that something was transformed, from one state to another. And since I can imagine how space can be transformed, and since time cannot be separated from space, it can probably be transformed too. So, I could perfectly well live with the idea that both were transformed from something that was neither time nor space. And that asking what there was before the universe is hence a bit pointless. As pointless as asking what is north of the north pole.
And you of course also have still the option that the beginning wasn't a singularity, but only something very close to one. thus that what we think is the begin, actually wasn't. In either case, my answer is that "popping into existence from nothing" is as absurd as "creating into existence from nothing". And that in either case I don't know. Because that is the honest answer if you don't know. A cat is not an answer, nor a supernatural being.
And when it comes to morality that emerges from the origin of the universe, I believe that for how to treat other humans, the state of the universe at time 0 is as important as the state of the universe at time 10 to the power -40 (as far back as physics is explained). Not important at all. The nature of the plasma at either of those times is completely irrelevant for my morals. There you have it. Order 08:48, 8 January 2008 (EST)
So you didn't actually read the reference I supplied? There's not much point in continuing this, if you are going to ignore information I provide.
Weathermen rarely get it wrong, in my experience (and they are supposed to be particularly unreliable here in Melbourne). That is, they mightn't get the exact top temperature, or the exact amount of rain, or the exact timing of the arrival of the cool front. But they do correctly predict that the cool front is coming, and get the timing reasonably close. The point is that we have a fair idea (even if not a precise one) of how these things work, to the point where they can make reasonably good predictions.
The details of which particular cause is responsible might be debatable, but the principle that things require a cause is well established.
You have not answered the question I asked. I admit that the two choices I asked you to choose between are not the only possible choices, but one of those choices was not that "something (or someone) created the universe out of nothing". So please answer the question.
Philip J. Rayment 09:13, 8 January 2008 (EST)
Did you look at the reference? It is 24 pages. If you want to make an argument, please make it yourself. But taking a quick glance it it actually seems to argue along the lines of Zeno like here "An infinite temporal regress of events is an actual infinite". We know that an infinite series doesn't have to sum up to infinity, which makes their point mute.
So you weathermen in Melbourne cannot even predict the temperature. And they probably even predict rain, and then it doesn't rain. Nobody doubts that they can use their radars, and see a cold front coming, but that is not predicting, thats an observation. What will be the weather in Melbourne on April 1, 2008?
The principle that things require a "cause", applies only to events, and what constitutes and event is defined by the observer. When talking about objects the concept of "cause" becomes void. What is the cause of a rock? We have a hard time to understand what that could even mean.
Your question was if I thought which of the two was more reasonable: "something (or someone) created the universe", I assume out of nothing, or that it "just popped into existence out of nothing for no reason". I think that both are evenly unreasonable. Order 17:48, 8 January 2008 (EST)
Yes, I did look at the reference. I even read it. Well, much of it (it only comes to 17 pages in my print preview!). But that reference had two things: 1) An extended version of the argument that I had already given you, so asking me to give it in my own words is silly, as I had already done so. 2) The argument about the ultimate cause being a personal creator. And that one I said was "at the end", so doesn't require you to read all 17 or 24 pages.
You've misrepresented what I said about weathermen, and what they do is more than simply observation and is often referred to as "predicting". So that response doesn't work.
"What is the cause of a rock?" Okay, it mightn't be the clearest way of asking it, but surely what is meant is "What caused the rock to be?" The event that brought the rock into existence is an, ummm, event. I don't see how that event is "defined by the observer".
If you can't figure which is the more reasonable, then I'm sorry, but it should be quite clear. One has a cause and the other doesn't. That's a straightforward application of the principle of cause and effect. And you can't object to the one with cause as being logically impossible given that I didn't limit the "something or someone" in any way.
Philip J. Rayment 07:42, 9 January 2008 (EST)
No giving it in your own words is not silly, it is courteous. You can't just ask me to do you homework. But I also looked at the end, since you asked for it. So, lets recall that the first half of the argument repeated the false assumption that an infinite sequence of steps has to be unbounded, which was also famously used in Zeno's paradox, and which is famously untrue. Cool. And the second part argues that the creator must be a person. Why, to change a state. Sorry, you do not need a full person to change a state. Any simple system with two states will do. It can't be deterministically stuck in one state, but that is about it. I wouldn't call that a person, it is just the most simple non-trivial two state system. It still doesn't explain anything, except that it postulates that a state changed, and even though it doesn't explain anything testable, I can certainly live with such a simple system as the origin.
So what is the weather on April 1, 2008, going to be? You probably don't know. But what we do know is that weather cats determine the weather by definition. So, I call tell you now already that the weather on April 1, 2008 will be determined by cats.
You can't tell me the cause of the rock is, but only the cause of an event associated with the rock. I was actually asking for the cause of the matter, and not the cause of an event associate with the matter. But anyway. Can you tell me more about this event. When does this event start? When does it end? Or does it happen at a single instance. At any time you look, you just see some matter. Or did the rock pop into existence?
I can figure out which of them is more reasonable. They are evenly unreasonable. I don't care that one version postulates an unknown cause for something that is unreasonable by itself to happen. Order 09:06, 9 January 2008 (EST)
Sigh! I didn't say that it was silly to give it in my own words. What I said was that it's silly to ask me to do that when I've already done that.
Your response to the impossibility of an infinite series is to declare it to be false. Wow, good argument. The second part argues that the creator must be a person in order to decide to create. A two-state system can't decide to change states.
If don't follow the distinction you are making in your questions about the rock and matter.
"I don't care that one version postulates an unknown cause for something that is unreasonable by itself to happen.": This is evading the question. Both options postulated that the event happened, so they were the same in that respect. And apart from postulating the impossibility of an infinitely old universe, it has happened (that the universe began), and this is agreed by almost everybody (except perhaps you).
Philip J. Rayment 09:48, 9 January 2008 (EST)
Oh, I assumed that you'd know that bounded infinite series are not impossible. Based on the assumption that infinite series are unbounded, Zeno came to the conclusion that Achilles can't overtake a tortoise. But we now know that infinite series can be bounded, and that therefore Achilles can overtake a tortoise. I think that is a good argument.
I asked you for the the cause of a rock, and not for the cause for an event associated with a rock. No worries if it doesn't make sense to you, it just shows that asking for the cause of a thing is nonsensical. So, I made that point. The second question was about the event that you described. I just asked you give some more details about it. None of these questions strikes me as difficult.
Oh sorry, take a non-deterministic system then. Which is a system that can either stay in one state, or go to the other.
If you ask me what I find more reasonable? Giving a reason for an unreasonable event, or giving none? I'd say giving none is a bit more reasonable. Giving a reason for an unreasonable event doesn't strike me as reasonable.
BTW: Did I say that the universe was infinite in time? I really don't know if it is. As mentioned before, I can imagine that space collapses, and since time and space are essentially the same, I can also imagine that time collapses. Asking what was before the collapse, is still as useful as asking what is north of the north pole. But as said, the universe might have collapsed into something like a singularity, but maybe it just almost collapsed but not quite. In that case there might be some sort of time before this universe. But that would not guarantee that time is infinite. It just means that it did not start at what we call the big bang. Maybe there was a bigger bang when it did start. But personally I think that scientists will have a hard time to look beyond our big bang. So my answer is, we don't know, and maybe we will never know. Order 12:20, 9 January 2008 (EST)
I think I was misunderstanding what you were getting at with infinite sets, but I now think that you misrepresented the article. You said that the first part argued 'that an infinite sequence of steps has to be unbounded", as though that's all it did. No, it (also) argued than an actual infinite is impossible.
You say that you asked for the cause of a rock, not of an even associated with a rock, but if you asked what caused something, then you are implicitly asking what caused it to be, i.e., to come into existence. That's one of the aspects of human language, that some things don't need to be explicitly stated in order to be understood.
If, on the other hand, you are arguing that the universe doesn't need a cause, that is only true if it didn't come into existence. If it came into existence, that is, if it had a beginning, then that event needs a cause.
My question was not about an unreasonable event, given that (a) the universe exists, and (b) it must have started to exist. So your excuses for answering the way you did don't wash. No, you didn't say that the universe was infinitely old, but that seemed to be the only explanation for what you were saying.
You mightn't know, but I do. :-)
Philip J. Rayment 21:29, 14 January 2008 (EST)
The article assumed that "that an infinite sequence of steps has to be unbounded", which is wrong. Add a second wrong assumption, that an actual infinite is logical impossible, doesn't make a difference. And you kind off glossed over the little fact that they only argue that the must have been a two state system at the beginning. This is just the smallest possible non-trivial system, and not exactly what we'd call a deity.
I asked you for the cause of a rock, because I want you to understand that an event needs to be defined to be useful. We define when an event starts, when it stops, what is part of the event, and what not. And you couldn't answer the simplest questions about the "event", the rock coming into existence. The point is that we never see any event like the one you claim has happened at the beginning of the universe. Nobody has every seen an event on an macroscopic scale, where there is first nothing, and then something. Causes are only defined for events where there is first something, and then there is the same something in a different state.
So, if you think about asking what caused the universe to exist, maybe you should first try to explain what we would call the cause of a rock to exist. We might figure out that you question is meaningless to begin with. Order 06:25, 22 January 2008 (EST)

New Information

I have been reading the talk page and wanted to ask what Philip means about New Information? I have heard this term many times in the creation vs. evolution debate but truly, I am perplexed as to what it means for the definition keeps moving in regards to the scope. So I have a few questions to help ferret out the answer. A frame shift produces a new active protein is or is not considered new information? A point mutation in a neuron produces a new protein is or is not considered new information? A mutation in a protein due to a chaperone causes a different function to occur is or is not considered new information? A provirus infecting gametes is or is not considered new information? An endogenous retrovirus infection in a human is or is not considered new information? A change in the pH, due to an infection, of an area of the body where gametes are formed causes some chaperonin to fold the proteins for Nucleotide excision repair incorrectly, allowing for diamers to form is or is this not considered new information? Finally, is it only considered new information if there is an addition to the genome or is it based on an addition to the functions of the genome? (I ask this due to regulating proteins often failing to regulate protein expression causing a host of changes in an organism.)

I phrased the questions above to really see what you consider new genetic information. I listed an example of a gain of function mutation with HIV1 and the gated ion channel that has allowed for an increase of infection of HIV1 in humans, I do not know if this series of mutations infringed on any other function of the viruses genome but I do know that due to this mutation HIV1 is the most prevalent form of HIV found in humans. This gain of information and loss of information debate is, how I should say it, trivial, considering the differences found in genomes between species and even sub races. Speaking of sub races, would you consider the increase of melanin to be a gain or a loss of information? (this is due to a regulating protein being mutated)--Able806 09:59, 7 January 2008 (EST)

It's not possible to tell from the descriptions you provide whether or not they constitute new information, because information has to do with meaning. It's like asking if you add a letter to a word and create a new word, is that new information? Well, it depends on whether the sentence containing the word says anything new, says the same thing, or is turned to gibberish.
The debate is not trivial at all. The best illustration, I believe, which I used above or on another page recently, is that to go from the first single-celled creature to you, you have to add lots and lots of information for hair, skin, blood, teeth, etc. That is, "information" is stuff with meaning, not random genetic letters or even proteins. I'm not saying that it has to be at the macro level of organs; it applies at the micro level of blood-clotting mechanism, for example, also, but it still has to be for something that wasn't there before. Evolution absolutely requires that it be able to add huge amounts of such new information. Creation does not require this. So this is a critical deciding factor between evolution and creation; between whether we are the result of a giant cosmic accident, or were designed by an Intelligent Being; between whether we are rearranged pond scum or created in the Image of God; between whether we suffer from depression due to having no purpose and (in some cases) nobody to love us, or whether we are loved by the Creator of the universe who has a purpose for us. No, it is not a trivial matter at all.
More below, including a possible answer to your question about melanin.
Philip J. Rayment 07:19, 8 January 2008 (EST)
Phillip, just to summarize your statement, my descriptions do not demonstrate new information because they show no meaning. I would agree except for one point, many cellular pathways are set up in cascades where when one protein changes, the whole cascade can change thereby changing the function of the pathway. So the analogy that you provided can apply if the altered cascade does not provide any advantage to the cell but we have recorded several cases where an altered cascade has improved the organism’s survival (HIV1 for example).
For the comment about adding huge amounts of information, did you know that Amoeba dubia genome is 200 times larger than that of a human? I know what you are thinking “what part of the amoeba’s genome is used and what part is junk”. If only 1% of it is used it is still larger than the Human genome. This is where the new information claims fail, they leave out the environment. The information only has “meaning” when applied to the environment. If a mutation is beneficial to the organism and is passed down to allow for better adaptation compared to the rest of the organism’s species then it does not matter if it is a gain or a loss of information of the genome, only that the organism is better suited to survive. So these claims about new information are in fact trivial since an organism’s evolution is based on their ability to survive, not on how large their genome is. Just to add an example to this information and meaning in regards to repetitive sequences, if an organism develops a repeat that causes a doubling of the amount of heat shock proteins found in their cells they would be better suited for a warmer climate due to fewer errors in protein folding within the cell. Now this mutation would not be seen as “new information” by your definition however if the environment were to warm up the organism would have a better chance of surviving thus adapting to the environment, thus showing evolution without “new information”.--Able806 16:02, 8 January 2008 (EST)
A more accurate summary (of what I meant if not what I said) would be that your descriptions do not demonstrate new information because they show no new meaning. Without specifics I can't comment on the altered cascade example, but an improved chance of survival does not necessarily mean that there is new information. Search the "Evolutionist = Atheist?" section above for "beetle" to see an example of why this is so.
I had heard that the genome of an Amoeba was much larger than that of a human. No, I wouldn't consider it junk—that's evolutionary thinking that has held back science because if it's junk, why study it? But they're now finding that so-called "junk DNA" has a purpose, as one would expect if it had been designed by an intelligent designer. This may not be the answer, but you are describing the information at the statistical level. The actual amount of meaningful information need not be directly related to the size of the genome. See the example in information#measuring information. This article briefly mentions your amoeba and gives a possible explanation. It also discusses the sorts of things we are discussing here.
But the real point is, does that amoeba (or more accurately, the original living cell) have the information for bone marrow, tear ducts, ears, and kidneys? Clearly they don't. Okay, perhaps that's not clear to you because of your next bit about the environment. But it's not the environment that applies the meaning; the meaning is applied by what reads the genetic information, and that is the cellular machinery. But the cellular machinery doesn't understand the genome to have the information for fingers, feathers, or forked tongues either, so it's still correct to say that that information is not there, and had to be added at some point. And indeed, that's what evolution is supposed to be all about, isn't it? As living things evolve, they evolve scales, then feathers. But that's at a morphological level. At the genetic level, they evolve the information for scales, then the information for feathers. It was not there to start with, it had to be added along the way.
"If a mutation is beneficial to the organism and is passed down to allow for better adaptation compared to the rest of the organism’s species then it does not matter if it is a gain or a loss of information of the genome, only that the organism is better suited to survive.": It may not matter for survival (see the beetle example again), but it does matter if you are going to explain where the information for tendons, muscles, and ball joints come from. The rest of your post was just an elaboration of the claim that evolution is demonstrated in survival adaptations, which is not true. Creation also predicts survival adaptations. Evolution is demonstrated in one creature changing (over time) into another, by adding new genetic information for new organs, mechanisms, processes, etc. If evolution only proceeds by survival adaptations that lose information, before long there won't be a working genome left.
Philip J. Rayment 08:22, 9 January 2008 (EST)
The discussion isn't trivial indeed, mostly because it is often difficult to distinguish between syntax and semantics. DNA doesn't have semantics by itself, and that is where the "information" analogy breaks. The genetic code is a mechanism that controls the synthesis of proteins directly, and there is no semantic step at all involved. We figure out by research that a certain bio-molecular process is meant to form eye. The bio-chemistry itself however has no clue about the meaning of what it is doing. It just does. And on this level duplication of code means changing the end result. And changing the code means changing the end result.
And your second argument just attaches a moral value to a theory that you reject. It is a bit a pity that you can't see the beauty in self-organizing processes, most other people actually enjoy watching them. There is some beauty to them, and I wouldn't call it scum. But of course this an aesthetic judgment of mine. Neither your moral, nor my aesthetic judgment matter to what actually happens on the bio-molecular level. But what strikes me even more that you feel that people have no intrinsic value. That they are not loved for who they are, but for their origins. I find that somewhat odd. And it is also odd also that you feel the need for some external purpose. Humans are social beings, and there are typically lots of people around that have a purpose for you. And probably even one that you enjoy. Order 07:44, 8 January 2008 (EST)
I'm not sure what you mean by DNA not having semantics "by itself", but see here. The rest of that paragraph has been answered by my comments (below) about robots.
What "self-organizing processes"? I'd suggest that the beauty that you are talking about is in processes that you think are self-organising but which I think are created. "pond scum" was a term used by an evolutionist, and yes, according to the evolutionary view, people have no intrinsic value, as they are merely a cosmic accident, slightly evolved animals, even a parasite on the planet. This is evolutionary teaching. William Provine:
Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear … There are no gods, no purposes, no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end for me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning to life, and no free will for humans, either.
But don't attribute that to me. I believe that we are specially created by God and are the pinnacle of His creation. The entire creation—yes, the entire universe—was created for us!
Philip J. Rayment 08:40, 8 January 2008 (EST)
It took a glance at the paper, and it uses the same level of information as you definition of Information. The paper argues that things are complicated, but that doesn't define meaning. But, indeed we will get to it when we discuss those robots.
That processes are self-organizing is not a belief, we can observe them self-organise. All you need to observe is a circular dependence between sub-processes that maintains itself. But we will get to this later as well.
Thanks for the quote of William Provine. There is a lot in it that sounds reasonable. But it is not evolutionist teaching, it is the opinion of an individual evolutionist, mostly on a matter that is not directly related to the process of evolution. Anyway, the first part just dismisses teleological arguments. And the second half just states, a bit harsh, that there is no reason to look at the origins to define meaning for yourself. I agree, if you want to look for meaning in your life, don't look at the primordial soup, but look around you. Humans are worth the effort, even if they aren't specially created. Or even because of it. Order 18:02, 8 January 2008 (EST)
I assumed from what we were discussing that your "self-organizing processes" were things like spontaneous generation, not what I would call processes that were designed to maintain themselves.
Ideas have implications, and Provine is explaining what he believes the implications of evolution are. And he is not alone. Your counter argument is to claim that ideas don't have implications and so divorce the implications from the idea. Your argument about humans being worth it is circular. That is, your claim of human worth is based on observation of what is, not on logical consequence of how humans came to be. But that merely begs the question of why that observation is so. To put it another way, I would say that your observation that humans are "worth the effort" is because they were designed in the image of God. It's like saying that you computer is a really good one. Sure, we agree. But why is it a really good one? Because it was well-designed, or because it fell together from pieces rattling around in a box? You say "it doesn't matter how it came to be; it's just a good computer". I respond, "but I say that the only reason that it's a good computer is because it was well-designed". A well-designed computer will be a good computer. A computer thrown together in an accident won't be. Trying to pass judgement on the worth of the computer whilst ignoring the cause does not mean that the cause is irrelevant. So with humans. If we are the result of a cosmic accident, we aren't worth anything. If we were designed by God, we are. You agree that we are worth something, so it follows that we were designed by God. The problem is that many people these days do see themselves and others as worthless, or something tending that way, and in many cases, it is due to the teachings of evolution, as the Provine quote illustrates.
Philip J. Rayment 08:41, 9 January 2008 (EST)
First, you really don't need to have any clue about how a process started to observe that it is self-replicating. And spontaneous generation isn't self-replication, it is the opposite of it. With self-replication you have something, and later you have something that is the same, or at least very similar. And still don't need to know anything about its origin to observe that something replicates itself.
Actually, as far as I can see I didn't argue that ideas don't have implications. But just because you share some ideas with somebody, you still don't have to share all the ideas that this somebody believes are implied by it. And certainly not the things that you think are implied by it.
Yes, indeed, I argue that humans are worth something because of who they are, and not about how their distance ancestor came to be. First, I notice the tendency to compare people to things, and I find the whole discussion about the functionality of things in comparison to people a bit awkward. But just let say, I don't actually care if my computer is well designed, I care if it works. And if it works well, I call it well designed, even it it was put together by a bunch of ignorami. It is know that a good design-process increases the chances that you get a good product of a predictable quality, but with people I prefer them to come in odd shapes and sizes. Its more like collecting precious stones, some are nice because they are regular, but other are nice because they have interesting inclusions.
Nobody claims that people are thrown together in accident. That is just a false dichotomy. We don't know if the origins were an accident. It could very well be that it wasn't. But even if it were, the people that are around today aren't assembled by accident. So, lets not repeat the whole evolution debate, because this is about the value of people, and if the origins matter.
Provine actually doesn't say anywhere that humans are worth nothing. He only says that there is no ultimate purpose or meaning for human existence. But that doesn't exclude that humans can have purpose and meaning for another. You however did say that humans are by themselves worth nothing. If something is depressing then it is that thought. If their distant ancestor weren't created, then they would be worth nothing. But you want them to be worth something, therefore you need a deity that lends them some worth, which they don't have by themselves. I in contrast think that they are worth something by themselves, and I really don't care if their ancestors descended from apes, were cloned by aliens, or popped into existence from nothing. Order 10:09, 9 January 2008 (EST)
I didn't realise that you were equating "self organizing" with "self replicating".
Your whole argument about worth amounts to "I think they're worth something, and that I can't show how this is so is irrelevant".
Philip J. Rayment 21:35, 14 January 2008 (EST)
In this context self-replicating can be thought off as the same a self organizing.
And I think that is a much better argument, than yours. There is evidence that these people are relevant to me. Your claim is they are worth nothing by themselves, except for how their distance ancestor was created. Something you might be wrong about, and something for which you have little proof. Order 02:40, 15 January 2008 (EST)
I'm not sure Philip has enough experience or knowledge of Molecular Biology to carry on this discussion. This is not a slight at Philip - I've come to respect him, and he's quite an eloquent and logical speaker/writer from what I've seen here. The concept of creating new information at the level of DNA is universally accepted among biologists. As a scientist, someone who is entombed in science/biology ever day, I will never be convinced by a creationist that new genetic information cannot be created by mutation. Wisdom89 11:07, 7 January 2008 (EST)
The idea that new information is created might be "accepted", but I'd say that it's accepted purely because it must be so if evolution is true, not because it's been observed. And if it was so well accepted (with evidence), then why couldn't Richard Dawkins provide an example when asked? He was asked "Professor Dawkins, can you give an example of a genetic mutation or an evolutionary process which can be seen to increase the information in the genome?" Dawkins was unable to answer the question, and instead resorted to answering a question that wasn't asked. (see video here.) This (not to mention various other sources) would argue strongly that your implication that this phenomenon is well know is simply wrong. Philip J. Rayment 07:46, 8 January 2008 (EST)
Philip, I would not expect Dawkins to provide examples since this is out of his field of study. His background and contributions to evolutionary biology (real research topics not the books and PR) are based on organism behavior not genetics nor biochemistry. Just because he did not know the answer that was posed to him does not mean that it does not exist. I have provided a well documented case with HIV1-M and the gated ion channel of “new information” in the evolution of a virus. It is a bit more complicated in animals due to the generations of organisms genetics that have to be recorded to validate the biochemical and genetic aspect of this “new information” claim. As a scientist I would make the reasonable claim that in the near future we would indeed see recorded changes in human genomes that allow for better adaptation.--Able806 16:14, 8 January 2008 (EST)
This article that I linked to into my previous response to you just now points out that Dawkins discusses the information issue in both that video and in The Blink Watchmaker. Even if his laboratory research is not in this area, it is still something that he should be able to answer. In one of my recent posts I asked where you put those links that I didn't get back to. Until I follow them up, I can't comment on the specific one you mention, but as I have pointed out before, if evolution were true there would need to have been probably billions of information-adding mutations, and surely we would expect to know of at least hundreds if not thousands of examples. I've also said that there is a very small chance that the odd one might occur by accident, so even if your example does turn out to be what you claim it to be, it is still more consistent with the creationary view than the evolutionary view. Your faith in what science will observe in the future is touching, but that's all it is. And it still ignores that a survival adaptation can be information-losing. Philip J. Rayment 08:52, 9 January 2008 (EST)
With respect to the youtube clip, it is said that when the interviewers asked that question - which used creationist "information" speak - Dawkins suddenly realized that he was framed by the interviewers, who pretended to not be creationist. But, regardless of whether this is the case, even if a single person, even a knowledgable person, doesn't give an answer to a question, it doesn't meant that this question doesn't have an answer. Googling might help. Try for example "chromosome 5 duplication" or "chromosome 16 duplication" or follow up some of the leads that Able gave you.Order 07:58, 8 January 2008 (EST)
"It is said". But is "it" correct? Is Dawkins only able to answer questions put to him by an evolutionist? They didn't tell him that they were creationists (else he would not have allowed himself to be interviewed by them, probably—so much for free academic inquiry), but they didn't do anything deceptive. He didn't ask; they didn't tell. Resorting to that sort of rebuttal shows that there's no real rebuttal.
And what is "creationist" about the question? Except perhaps that evolutionists mightn't actually ask for evidence? No, logically it doesn't mean that there is no answer. But if an expert can't answer the question, it very strongly suggests that there is no answer! And by the way, Dawkins has had further oppurtunity since to answer the question, and has still provided no examples.
Googling would only throw up lots of sceptic claims of new information that don't check out. I've looked at such claims before. And how many times do I need to point out that duplication of existing information is not the generation of new information? Yet what do you give me? Google searches for duplication!
I did forget to get back to Able806's examples. Where did he post them again?
Philip J. Rayment 08:48, 8 January 2008 (EST)
Not sure why you expect me to rebut a youtube clip? As said, just because Dawkins didn't give an answer doesn't mean that there isn't an answer. And if it is true that Dawkins would have given them an interview if he had know that they are creationist, which is believable, you can imagine that he was stunned when they blew their cover by asking a creationist question. That would make his behavior even more believable. But regardless of what it is, neither of us are his custodian. And I would argue against the fact that he hasn't provided example since. He probably explained quite often how things evolve. Except that he doesn't use "information" speak. Maybe because he thinks is inappropriate, too, since dna has no semantics.
I wouldn't call it a skeptic claim if sequencing of a chromosome shows that lots of part are duplications. And neither that certain duplications lead to certain abnormalities. That is plain and simple an observation, and not a claim.
How many time do you have to point out that duplication of existing information doesn't generate new information? Until you realize that this statement is wrong. Duplication of a string reiterates, reinforces, and even changes the information. Duplication of a string reiterates, reinforces, and even changes the information. Duplication of a string reiterates, reinforces, and even changes the information. Order 18:37, 8 January 2008 (EST)
I expected you to because it damages your argument and because that's what you appeared to be trying to do.
"...just because Dawkins didn't give an answer doesn't mean that there isn't an answer.": Yeah, right. Just because someone that should be able to answer a question can't do so, it doesn't mean that there isn't one? No, it doesn't absolutely prove that there isn't one. But it's mighty strong evidence that there isn't one.
"...by asking a creationist question.": So you agree that asking for evidence is something that only a creationist would do? I think that there's evidence that it wasn't that question that caused him to realise that it was a creationist asking the question. He has had opportunity to answer the question since, and has failed to do so.
Your attempt to argue that duplication is something other than duplication is illogical, as illustrated by my example of duplicating the article about London in an encyclopedia of places. Merely restating that duplication is change is not an argument. So my question was not wrong.
Philip J. Rayment 09:10, 9 January 2008 (EST)
I don't see how that damages my argument. People don't give answers for various reasons. And one is that don't feel like talking to some person anymore.
And it is not the case only creationist dare to ask questions, but only creationists dare to ask questions that are besides the point. That could be another reason why they didn't get an answer. Sometimes, you get an question where you really don't know where to begin to explain that its besides the point. Why is it besides the point. Because dna isn't used by a semantic interpretation, and since the increase of information, whatever that might mean in this context, is quite irrelevant.
Your example of London in the encyclopedia only proves my point that dna isn't an encyclopedia. Thanks for repeating your observation, although I am not quite sure why you did it, because I thought you believed that duplication doesn't convey additional information. If you are still in doubt that duplicating a string doesn't add information, visit my family. I have a brother who is two years older than me. Who has a brother who is two years older than him. Who has a brother who is two years older than him. Who has a brother who is two years older than him. Order 10:35, 9 January 2008 (EST)
Dawkins did keep talking, so that can't be his excuse.
I didn't say that only creationists dare to ask questions. I asked if it's only creationists who will ask for evidence. It was not beside the point. Earlier in the interview Dawkins had talked about information ("I suppose the great mystery of life is to explain where the complexity of life came from. Another way of talking about complexity is to say 'information'. 'Information' is a kind of measure of complexity."), so it was simply asking him for examples of what he had talked about, and as such was quite relevant.
You still haven't explained how duplicating the London page (or the Bolognese page) is the generation of new information, such as is required for the instructions to build lungs, livers, and ligaments.
Philip J. Rayment 23:16, 14 January 2008 (EST)
Not just creationists ask for evidence. So your argument revolves about an interview where you weren't present and that could be interpreted in different ways. Is that your scientific evidence? Is that the best evidence you have? So, let me ask you, where is your actual evidence. Or is this it? A youtube clip?
I already explained to you that the London bridge example is a very nice illustration of the fact that dna doesn't work like an encyclopedia. That it works more like a cookbook, and the bolognese example illustrates it fairly well. Because, in dna it is strings that are duplicated, and not information. Syntax is duplicated, not semantics. And on the level of dna, a duplication means to do something twice. It doesn't tell you more about how to make anything else but bolognese, but it tells you how many you have to make. And that is information, too.
The crucial bit is you claim that duplication of strings cannot add information. And this general claim has been debunked. I see that you want to change the subject to lungs, eyes, etc. As mentioned before, it appears to be creationist tactic to not answer, but only to ask questions. Your claim that duplication cannot add information has been debunked repeatedly, regardless of how lungs got created. Or weren't you able to tell me how many brothers I have? Order 02:40, 15 January 2008 (EST)

If you meant the HIV Vpu example I listed the research publications on the If Noah only brought two of every animal on the ark, wouldn't subsequent generations of animals have become increasingly inbred? page.--Able806 16:16, 8 January 2008 (EST)

Ah, that was it. Thanks. Philip J. Rayment 09:12, 9 January 2008 (EST)
Indeed the arguments from "information" are made based on a fairly basic misunderstanding of how dna works. The common conception is that dna is something like an encyclopedia, where you can look up definitions and descriptions. A better analogy would be however that of a cookbook, which describes how things are made. Another misconception is that dna is read and semantically understood, before the information is used to control the biochemistry in our cells. There is however now semantic step in processing dna. Reading dna (or rna) means at the same time executing it, i.e. generating the associated proteins. Imagine that reading a cookbook actually produces what is read. If you read the recipe for spaghetti bolognese twice, you will have created spaghetti bolognese twice. If you duplicate the recipe for spaghetti bolognese, you will create it twice as often. Anyway, before I get lost in my analogy, lets summarize it as follows. The common misconception is that the book of life is an encyclopedia, while it is actually a cookbook with a set of instructions, and reading them means executing them. With this in mind it is actually very enlightening to see the examples that Able provided. Order 17:57, 7 January 2008 (EST)
Indeed, in some respects the cookbook analogy is better than the encyclopedia analogy. Not that it helps your case, though. Two recipes for bolognese does not provide any sort of support for the idea that, by chance, the cookbook could add a recipe for a wedding cake. As I keep saying, duplication of existing information is not adding new information.
But to expand on the cookbook idea, and to hopefully provide a better answer to Able806's post above, random changes in the cookbook might indeed change some values, such as more or less onion in the bolognese. Sometimes these changes might be "beneficial", i.e. some might like less onion. In other cases, they might make the sauce too dry.
But no amount of random change to the bolognese recipe will add the instructions for marzipan, let alone add the extra equipment needed for marzipan (such as a grinder for the almonds or a roller for rolling it into thin sheets).
I'm not sure that I follow the distinction you are trying to make with your next point. I think you are saying that there is no intelligent being reading the DNA "cookbook" and understanding it to carry out the instructions, but instead it's more like a robot following a set of programmed instructions. This is true, but the robot needs to be programmed by an intelligent being to "understand" those instruction. Who programmed the genetic machinery to "understand" the genetic instructions? Sorry, you haven't solved anything.
Philip J. Rayment 08:05, 8 January 2008 (EST)
Oh, no two recipes for bolognese give you two bologneses. And it is indeed quite unlikely that a simple random change won't change it into a wedding cake. But by mutation and selection you can transform one recipe to the other step by step. What would keep me from leaving out the meat, and then adding cherries rather than tomatoes to the bolognese? This way I am already on my way to the filling for a black forest cake. But not because I am working towards wedding cake, but because I like spaghetti with cherries.
As it comes to the tools, the great thing is that it doesn't use any tools, other than those that can be produced by genetic information, i.e. other than by cooking itself. So, if anything you can use stale bread to beat the meat. and if benefitial stale bread will be produced on purpose. And if beneficial the stale bread would become harder, get a handle. But you don't find metal tools. You will only find tools made of the same stuff, as the stuff that is produced. You might find it fantastic, but if we look into a cell this is exactly what happens. If there would be a metal grinder in the cell, that wouldn't be produced by the cells itself, you would have a case.
This also answers right away what produces the "robots". They were produced by earlier "robots", reading genetic code. And these were produced by earlier "robots", reading genetic code. And these were produced by earlier "robots", reading genetic code. You probably get the clue. In the end it all boils down to the argument that there cannot be an infinite series of events. Which is still not true. Granted, it seems like we are only able to understand a finite number of events, so at some point or another, we might not know what is going on. But in that case the honest answer is that we don't know.
But, this reminds me of the creationist tactic to keep asking questions, without ever answering one themselves, assuming that finding an unanswered question proves them to be right. So how do these robots get programmed in your theory? Order 18:37, 8 January 2008 (EST)
"two recipes for bolognese give you two bologneses": Correct. More of the same, not something new.
Eat it and you will feel the difference. Do this every day and see your how your fitness changes. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Order (talk)
How does that make it something new? Simple. It doesn't. And eating two a day would probably make me fat and reduce my fitness, thus is a downhill change, not an uphill change as evolution requires. Bombed out twice. Philip J. Rayment 23:34, 14 January 2008 (EST)
How does that make something new? You answered it yourself, by making a second portion of bolognese. If you are on a camping trip, a second portion of bolognese can make all the difference. Of course, if you want something else than bolognese, mutation and selection is the mechanism to go. So, neither one of them works alone, but they do the trick together. And from what you say about gaining weight, I conclude that you are not living on a pacific island, where weight increases your appeal to women. See, in a different environment, something that is a disadvantage, can suddenly turn into an advantage. The double bolognese types would go extinct in Melbourne, but thrive in the Pacific. And, who knows, maybe at some point, people in Melbourne wouldn't even think about having offspring with any of the double bolognese types and vice versa. Does this sound like the beginning of speciation? It does. Order 02:40, 15 January 2008 (EST)
"But by mutation and selection you can transform one recipe to the other step by step.": Only if the mutations are actually capable of doing that.
Sure, if they can't they can't. We'll come to that later. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Order (talk)
"What would keep me from leaving out the meat, and then adding cherries rather than tomatoes to the bolognese?": Nothing. But we are not talking about you, an intelligent being, doing it, but it being done by random changes.
Sure, but for the rules of evolution it doesn't matter if the selection is man made or not. MRSA staph bacteria evolve, even though the selective pressure is man made. Order 02:40, 15 January 2008 (EST)
Oh, I forgot to buy meat, and took by accident the wrong can out of the cupboard. Cherries rather than tomatoes. Silly me. But it was tasty, so I kept the recipe. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Order (talk)
A bolognese with no meat nor tomatoes, but cherries is only "tasty" if you define any change as being an improvement, which means that natural selection is not needed, because every change will be selected. Philip J. Rayment 23:34, 14 January 2008 (EST)
I don't have to find any change tasty, to find bolognese with no meat nor tomatoes, but cherries tasty. What kind of reasoning is this. The other day, when I accidentally added cat food, I hated it. Order 02:40, 15 January 2008 (EST)
"As it comes to the tools, the great thing is that it doesn't use any tools, other than those that can be produced by genetic information,...": By existing genetic information.
Sure. What else did you expect? Somebody or something from outside the cell creating them? If you'd find that you'd have a case. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Order (talk)
But there is no existing genetic information for the new tools required. And yes, they are required, as I mentioned, to crush the almonds and to roll the icing. You can't eliminate the tools required by declaring them to be not required. Philip J. Rayment 23:34, 14 January 2008 (EST)
For all tools that are used in a cell, there is information in the cell as to how to build them. If you want to build something that cannot be build this way, then it won't happen. Just like we don't have animals with aluminum spines. We can simply observe if all the tools are created by the cell. Nobody claims that in evolution anything impossible can happen. Tht can only happen in creationism. Order 02:40, 15 January 2008 (EST)
"So, if anything you can use stale bread to beat the meat. and if benefitial stale bread will be produced on purpose.": The question was crushing almonds. I don't think stale bread would be hard enough.
Agreed, if stale bread isn't hard enough, or if there wouldn't be a natural substitute, it wont happen. We also don't find animals with aluminum spines. A creator could do this, but nature has to stick to the material it has. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Order (talk)
Exactly. And it doesn't have all the materials, so where do they come from? Philip J. Rayment 23:34, 14 January 2008 (EST)
If it doesn't have the materials it wouldn't happen. Do you have any evidence that some outside party brought in material that was missing? Order 02:40, 15 January 2008 (EST)
"And if beneficial the stale bread would become harder": If it wasn't hard enough in the first place, it would be discarded.
Sure it would, unless there would be some other use for it. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Order (talk)
Storytelling. Philip J. Rayment 23:34, 14 January 2008 (EST)
In our hypothetical example, it would even be falsifiable. Order 02:40, 15 January 2008 (EST)
"If there would be a metal grinder in the cell, that wouldn't be produced by the cells itself, you would have a case.": I'm not quite sure what you are getting at here, but the point is that many things would not have been in the cell already.
Not sure, I am pretty sure that all things that a cell needs are there at cell division. There are no tools popping up miraculously. If you would observe this, you would have a case. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Order (talk)
I'm getting very close to refusing to discuss this with you any more. You have no clue to what you are talking about (i.e. the arguments for creation), but are arguing anyway.
Of course all the things that a cell needs are there at cell division. But to "evolve" a bolognese into marzipan you need new tools, not just new instructions. The same with a cell. New instructions are not enough. You need new tools to carry out those new instructions. The cell does not have the new tools required. Philip J. Rayment 23:34, 14 January 2008 (EST)
What new tools, that are not produced by the cell, do you need? There are none. All tools that are needed by are cell are present by a cell. As the cell changes so do the tools, because they are an integral part of it. I get a bit tired by the fact that you seem to struggle with understanding circular dependencies, and feedback loops. Order 02:40, 15 January 2008 (EST)
"And these were produced by earlier "robots", reading genetic code.": Yep, in biology, the law of biogenesis: That life only comes from life (which abiogenesis tries to ignore).
Sure. And abiogensis tries to find and incremental way from chemistry to bio-chemistry. They apparently don't have an answer. I'll ask you later more about your answer. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Order (talk)
"In the end it all boils down to the argument that there cannot be an infinite series of events. Which is still not true.": It is true, as the long article I linked to explains. A real infinite set is a logical impossibility. And of course almost everyone accepts that, which is why the universe and life is thought to have begun, rather than have been around forever. So you've explained nothing.
Who accepts that there are no real infinite sets? Actually the reals are an infinite set. Any interval in the reals is an infinite set, too. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Order (talk)
The article is not talking about sets of reals! <scream> Philip J. Rayment 23:34, 14 January 2008 (EST)
But it should. Or at least use the rationals. The article is using, just like Zeno, a finite, ordered set. And if you live in a world like that, we all agree that Achilles cannot pass the tortoise. But we do not live in a world where Achilles cannot pass a tortoise, and we do not live in a world where infinite sets are a logical impossibility. Sure, I can imagine how live is in flatland, but that doesn't make this world flatland. Order 02:40, 15 January 2008 (EST)
"the creationist tactic to keep asking questions, without ever answering one themselves": Rubbish. I do my best to answer every question asked. And I often ask questions that go unanswered.
"So how do these robots get programmed in your theory?": So you don't know? When were you planning on studying the idea that you so strongly argue against? (Let's see if you answer that one!) I have already said who programmed them, so I'm assuming your question is how He did it. I would have thought it was obvious: They were created with the programming built in.
Philip J. Rayment 09:26, 9 January 2008 (EST)
That is not the full answer, that is just postulating. How were they created? In what environment? Why four bases? Why not silicon based? Was there a lab? What did it look like? Where came the raw material from? What were the conditions? Or did they pop into existence? Do you have any evidence that anything that complex ever popped into existence? And who was it who created it? And do you have any testable evidence for any of this? Order 10:59, 9 January 2008 (EST)
No answer can be the "full" answer. Any answer is only going to create more questions. But the answer did answer the question. Philip J. Rayment 23:34, 14 January 2008 (EST)
You give up this easily? So, if you cannot even answer these very basic follow up questions, then your alleged answer doesn't answer much. When you ask me how the universe came to be I'll tell you that we don't know. When we ask you, you say you know for certain, that it was made by some personal entity. And if you cannot answer any follow up question, what do we need your answer for? It appears that you don't know either. You wish, maybe, but you apparently don't know. Order 02:40, 15 January 2008 (EST)
Philip, I presume you've read this article by Dawkins which goes into depth about the interview in question and the long answer he says he perhaps should have given at the time. If so, what about his answer is, in your view, not answering the question? I would quite understand it if you said that you don't agree with the answer, but that's not the same as saying Dawkins didn't actually give one. Ajkgordon 10:29, 9 January 2008 (EST)
Yes, I've read it before. It's the main thing I was referring to when I said that he's had opportunity since to answer the question. But still nowhere in that article does he actually answer the question, i.e. supply examples of mutations generating new genetic information. The easiest way for him to answer the creationist video with him on it would be to say, "I was caught unprepared, but here are the examples they wanted...". But providing the examples is one thing that he doesn't do in that article. And if you've read that, you might like to read this, which also discusses the event, and has links to various other details about it. Philip J. Rayment 23:42, 14 January 2008 (EST)
The article you link to basically just writes off the first part of Dawkins' reply about information theory. Which in some ways I agree with. To me it was irrelevant and made Dawkins out to be some sort of techie nerd! But then I suppose if you're dealing with DNA you have to be pretty clued up on information science. All in all though it certainly detracted from his answer and made it look like he was avoiding the question. Further, the article has not one but two links to that ridiculous deceitful set-up job interview. It's been discredited and makes a mockery of honest Christians trying to entertain dialogue with science. I'm amazed that Creationists are still using it as proof of evolutionary biologists' inability to talk about increased genetic information.
Besides which Dawkins does go into detail about how gene replication can cause increased information through mutation followed by natural selection. He describes very well how markers throughout the species tree show where genes have replicated without reproducing, (i.e. stayed within the would-be parent's DNA as a mutation), and then mutating further across generations so that the two originally identical genes become different. If the mutation then becomes reproductively useful then natural selection has created new genetic information. I think he cites the trace of genetic mutations that resulted in haemoglobin.
Now creationists would still argue that those types of mutations don't happen, but Dawkins still answered the question. Ajkgordon 11:10, 15 January 2008 (EST)
The Dawkins interview (if that's what you are referring to as a "job interview") was not a deceitful setup and has not been discredited (although attempts have been made).
Dawkins spins an elaborate story about how genetic information was produced, but the question was for examples, not the story, and he did not provide examples. So did not answer the question.
Philip J. Rayment 08:26, 16 January 2008 (EST)
No, not "job interview", "set-up job interview" Bad wording I agree :)
OK, we could go back and forth for ever that the interview was deceitful/discredited, no it wasn't, yes it was, no it wasn't.... But I'll leave you with this link.
As for examples, he does give examples, such as haemoglobin. But you don't seem to want to accept anything that falls short of a new limb, even though you obviously know enough about evolution to recognise that that is an unreasonable demand to make. Ajkgordon 06:19, 17 January 2008 (EST)
That link has nothing of substance in the way of showing that the interview was deceitful, and thus fails to discredit it. Most of it is nitpicking details or arguing that the interview was misleading because evolution is right and creation wrong. In other words, judging the evidence on the basis of the ideology.
He spins a story about how the haemoglobin molecule came about, but it is not an example of something that has been seen to increase the genetic information, because what brought about the variations was not observed. No, it's not a new limb I want. It's actual evidence I want, not the evolutionary just-so story.
Philip J. Rayment 05:09, 18 January 2008 (EST)
As I said, we could both assert that it is/isn't deceitful ad infinitum. I maintain that concealing the sponsor (AiG) of the interview is deceitful and this undenied fact has discredited the interview. You don't. Fair enough.
He doesn't "spin a story". It's genetic mutation 101. Genetic mutation can happen in principally one of three ways.
1. At replication, a base pair is incorrectly replicated, so you end up with a genetic sequence with one different letter compared to the original. This will cause a different protein to be produced and, if the change is beneficial, it will have a good chance of surviving through natural selection. But this adds no new information - no new bits creating the code for an additional protein.
2. At replication, a genetic sequence - a base pair, a gene, a chromosone, or anything in between - is replicated and reinserted in the parent genetic code. This is a mutation because DNA is not "supposed" to do that. Happens remarkably often though, just that in most cases the resulting DNA is so horribly screwed up that it is useless and doesn't survive, either because any resulting offspring is unviable but more often because the mutated DNA in the cell doesn't even get that far. On occasion, however, like any other mutation, the change is viable and even beneficial and natural selection then plays its part as above. The duplicated DNA then mutates over time to become different to the original (as it does too) and, bingo, you have new DNA information producing new proteins. This is called duplication mutation and is most common in sexual reproduction and as such is the primary method for increasing genetic information in animals. (A similar process primarily in plants using asexual reproduction is called poliploidy (sp?) and an artificial version of this is the technique used by many plant breeders to create new species of flowering plants.)
3. Similar to above but foreign DNA or RNA being inserted by things like retro-viruses. Again the same principles as above apply. If the new inserted genetic information is beneficial (and lucky) then natural selection will ensure its survival. Again, new information.
Now, these are not examples just mechanisms.
But there are examples that have been seen to happen (rather than deduced much like a detective will deduce the details of a crime even though he hasn't seen it happen.) The most common known examples are the result of studies on things like antibiotic resistant bacteria and pesticide resistant insects. In most cases, the mutations are simple changes in protein manufacture - a gene mutates slightly and ends up manufacturing a slightly different protein, i.e. type 1 listed above - no new genetic information. But there are cases where type 2 mutation has been documented, i.e. new proteins in addition to the original proteins being produced resulting in a new ability or feature - new genetic information. For documented experimental examples, read Selection - The Mechanism of Evolution by Alexander Bell.
Philip, I'm pretty sure that none of this will convince you of anything - the Creationists' claim that evolution can't create new genetic information is well established - but it's interesting to have these conversations nonetheless. I suppose my point is simply that the relevant question posed to Dawkins can be answered, has been answered and there are many examples of increases of genetic information through mutation. That you will dismiss them is not unexpected :) Ajkgordon 07:29, 18 January 2008 (EST)
The sponsor wasn't "concealed" any more than the producer's middle name was concealed. Not mentioning something is not the same as concealing it, so your argument for deception is false.
The producer's middle name wasn't relevant. The fact that these people were YECs and knew that Dawkins wouldn't interview with them if he had known is relevant. They were deceiving him and any reasonable person could see that. Whether it was justified is another matter and is perhaps a perfectly valid POV. Ajkgordon 08:28, 18 January 2008 (EST)
Claiming that it was deceitful is implying that they did something wrong, whereas now you acknowledge that it may have been justified. If so, they did nothing wrong. Philip J. Rayment 08:50, 18 January 2008 (EST)
So if it's not merely a story, who saw the mutations that caused the varieties of the haemoglobin molecule?
The mutations that caused the advent of haemoglobin have been deduced by study, much like a detective can deduce "fact" in a crime that he hasn't seen. Ajkgordon 08:28, 18 January 2008 (EST)
The detective tries to figure out how the crime occurred, but that there was a crime to investigate is not disputed. In the case of haemoglobin, you (quoting Dawkins) are trying to explain how something occurred without first establishing that it did occur. That it occurred is assumed, based on the idea of evolution. An alternative explanation is that God created the various versions of haemoglobin that way. The question was for an example of a mutation that could be seen to increase the genetic information, so what is offered is a story about how some information came about by mutation when we don't even know that a mutation did occur! So how is it an example of a mutation being seen to increase the genetic information? Simple. It isn't. Philip J. Rayment 08:50, 18 January 2008 (EST)
The issue is not mutations per se, or even beneficial mutations, but information-gaining mutations.
"The duplicated DNA then mutates over time to become different to the original (as it does too) and, bingo, you have new DNA information ...": No, the observational evidence is that these mutations (if not neutral) destroy information. Again, you are simply repeating the evolutionary story, not providing evidence nor a logical argument.
No, the observational evidence that you can read in the studies described in the book I mentioned does not show the destruction of information. The evidence is there and it is very logical. You might still disagree with it but you should be aware that it exists. Ajkgordon 08:28, 18 January 2008 (EST)
Given that evolutionists (not just Dawkins) have so much trouble finding examples, and that creationary scientists (who stay on top of this sort of thing) have yet to acknowledge any, I am naturally enough sceptical. And given that I don't have that book, perhaps you could quote to me some examples that it has. Philip J. Rayment 08:50, 18 January 2008 (EST)
The book in question is a large one. The relevant section is p.229-244.
Of course I will dismiss it, when the argument keeps repeating the same old canards, that mutations are my definition new information, or duplication is new information (it's not, it's the same information repeated), that a beneficial mutation is new information (despite the examples of information-destroying mutations sometimes being beneficial).
That mutations are by definition new information is not an "old canard" that is repeated. Most, the vast majority even, of mutations do indeed destroy information. Or rather they make the information worthless. But new information is created when a duplication of the original then mutates in its turn. So you have the original genetic code and a mutation of it. If both genes remain useful, then natural selection will indeed have created more useful genetic information and it is this process that these studies demonstrate. Live. With documented evidence. And there my friend I will (probably) probably leave it. I don't think we'll get any further. Ajkgordon 08:28, 18 January 2008 (EST)
How does a mutation, which by your own admission normally destroy information, somehow miraculously create it when it is mutating a copy rather than the original? (And even though you here admit that mutations are generally harmful, I've often had people tell me that any mutation, by changing the DNA, is therefore creating new information. Someone said as much to me here on Conservapedia in the last few days or so.) Your logic that both genes remaining useful constitutes new information is invalid. Philip J. Rayment 08:50, 18 January 2008 (EST)
There's no miracle. I didn't say that it creates information when the copy mutates rather than the original. Are you willfully misunderstanding me? Either can mutate, most likely both. Either or both genes, the copy and the original, are then different to the original gene. If those mutations are then useful, then mutation has caused new information. Perhaps your misunderstanding comes from having too many people say to you that all mutation creates new information. Technically, it probably does. If you change a comma to a fullstop in a Word document (an analogy to the simplest form of genetic mutation) then that information is indeed new. Of course, the original information is destroyed by being replaced so the net gain is zero. But we're not talking about that. To take the Word analogy further, the duplication mutation is more akin to C&Ping a whole paragraph (gene), both of which then have some of their punctuation or letters changed. Neither paragraph means the same as the original and therefore the document contains new information.
But I said I would leave it there, so I will or I'll get blocked for 90/10 violation :) Ajkgordon 09:09, 18 January 2008 (EST)
It is simply not true that if the mutation is useful, then there is new information. If a mutation causes a beetle on a windy island to not develop wings, it is useful because it will not be blown off the island into the sea and drown. The mutation is useful, but it is a corruption of existing information, not new information. This is true regardless of whether it occurs in the original or a copy. Changing a comma to a full stop in a Word document does not create new information. It does not convey any new meaning that wasn't there before. The only thing it does is create a grammatical error, i.e. it corrupts the information. The same with copying a paragraph. Not only does neither paragraph mean the same, they become (to a greater or lesser degree) meaningless. Simply because it's changed doesn't mean that it tells you anything new. Philip J. Rayment 09:27, 18 January 2008 (EST)


Philip, how about the Vpu complex in HIV1-M? Whereas your beetle example shows the loss of a structure to allow the survival of the organism the VPU shows the formation of a structure to ensure the increase of HIV1-M by allowing for improved infection. Also information is only new based on the context to which it is used. There are many dormant protein sequences (caused by point mutations, adenoviruses and copy errors) found in organism's genomes. They are not expressed unless a frame shift happens or some other reading frame error occurs. Most of these sequences do not encode for anything that is currently useful for the organism in its current state however some allow for adaptation, CCR5 is a prime example in Humans as it gives the human a resistance to HIV infection. Now CCR5 is only found in European decent humans, not in other subspecies of humans. With that being said, if HIV is allowed to spread and the non-European decent humans do not form some resistance like CCR5 then it is plausible to say that only those humans with CCR5 will be able to pass on their genetic material in the face of a HIV pandemic. As such there would be a decrease in non-European decent humans thus changing the human species from one of a heterogeneous mixture to that of European decent humans. What would be lost phenotypic by this example, the epicanthic fold, darker skin, brown eyes at birth and a host of other ethic differences not associated with Europeans. As you can see by this example something like this could change what would be perceived as the human race into something different. This is how evolution works, a change occurs that allows for an increase of the organisms genetic material (and traits) into the population thus causing a shift of genetic information of the population and therefore a shift in genetic traits. The point is that the mutation has to be put in perspective with the environment to account for evolution, not just if it creates new information or not.--Able806 10:25, 18 January 2008 (EST)

I've finally gotten around to giving an initial response to the HIV thing in If Noah only brought two of every animal on the ark, wouldn't subsequent generations of animals have become increasingly inbred?.
CCR5 is an example of a beneficial loss-of-information mutation.[9] And as you indicate, it could (hypothetically) result in the loss of other genetic information; information carried only in non-European people groups. Losing information is not what evolution requires. If we keep losing information, we'll become extinct as natural selection removes us. In fact, as I understand it, this very point led a geneticist (John Sanford) to become a YEC because we are losing information, which is a case of going in the wrong direction for evolution.
Philip J. Rayment 05:20, 22 January 2008 (EST)

I am sorry Philip, I know that CCR5 is a loss of function mutation that was an example for how a loss of function mutation can cause evolution, however the HIV1-M part had nothing to do with CCR5 (what was on the Noah page), it was about HIV gaining a gated ion channel. This was an example of not only a gain of function mutation but a gain of a mechanism.--Able806 08:58, 22 January 2008 (EST)

It does if the two new paragraphs both makes sense. That's the analogy! (I'm sorry, I can't resist.) Ajkgordon 09:42, 18 January 2008 (EST)
"IF"! But will that happen? Try it. Randomly find a comma on this page, change it to a full stop, and tell me if the sentence is still grammatically correct and says something that it didn't previously say. Even try that a hundred times if you want. Do any of them make sense? Philip J. Rayment 09:54, 18 January 2008 (EST)
Yes, it will happen. But probably not if you try it only 100 times. It's thousands, millions, billions of times. That's how the random process works. Only the viable changes (or no change) succeed.
That's how it works in ordinary mutation too, with no added information. But with a doubled genetic string, why wouldn't exactly the same process work? Random mutation changing the doubled original code but in different ways... with selection pressures favouring the fittest. Et voila - more information.
But then this isn't me saying this - it's professionals in the field saying this. It works, has been seen to work, and there is documented evidence of it working. But I suppose these professionals have a world view that leads them to these conclusions, right? Ajkgordon 16:24, 20 January 2008 (EST)
So I notice that you didn't actually try the experiment. Not into the scientific method? No, trying it a thousand, million, or billion times won't make any difference—there's not that many commas on this page as potential candidates. And even if you took more pages and tried it more times, it's still not going to produce new information. And it's not true that only the viable (or neutral) changes succeed. Natural selection does tend to favour the beneficial ones, but doesn't comprehensively eliminate every detrimental mutation. If it did, we wouldn't have detrimental mutations surviving at all, yet we do. Other professionals say otherwise, and it has not been seen to work, and there is no documented evidence of it working. That's the point of the Dawkins video clip. So yes, it is their worldviews leading them to saying this, because it's not the evidence. And as I've said before, even if the odd information-gaining mutation was shown (as Able806 claims above), that one information-gaining mutation would be swamped by all the information-losing ones. Philip J. Rayment 05:32, 22 January 2008 (EST)

I think it should be pointed out that there has to be a loss of function for evolution to occur, as well as a gain of function. (We do have to keep in mind that a loss of function does not equate to a loss of genetic material, just that the function no longer works the same way). Let’s account for the genetic diversity of humans. Melanin concentrations being found higher in the human populations whose relatives are from areas closer to equator while people whose decedents are from further from the equator you find lower concentrations. Is this a loss or a gain of function? The regulation of melanin is partially due to the SLC24A5 gene, which is thought to be of European origin. As such this gene down regulates melanin production. It does not stop production just slows it. So would this be a loss of information or a gain of information? Loss of function or gain of function? This is why the argument of new information and gain of function can be folly, as time progresses we find more and more of these genetic abnormalities and are able to trace their origins. As I stated above it is important that there are loss of function with gain of function mutations for evolution to occur, without a loss of function we would still be cold blooded.--Able806 09:16, 22 January 2008 (EST)

Philip J. Rayment 07:58, 18 January 2008 (EST)
As I beleive it has been pointed out (or attemtpted to be pointed out), the use of the phrase "new information" in the question is what really causes the problems. This is a phrase used by creationists that has no simple solid definition in a scientific sense when used to discuss these types of evolutionary issues. Therefore, if is basically impossible to give an example, as you keep demanding, that will be accepted because the creationist will consistently either claim that it doesn't meet the "new information" criteria for some reason, or, in the case of examples already provided here relative to viruses for example, they will fall back on the "oh thats MICROevolution, its not the same". From an Occam's Razor perspective, I would tend to think the simplest definition of "new information" is the gaining of a new trait or ability that an organism did not previously had. Even if you want to restric this to a "beneficial" change, examples do exist and have been provided. The simplest I can personally think of is a virus that suddenly gains the ability to affect a new species, such as Bird Flu mutating to infect humans. This is certainly new ability, and certainly beneficial to the survival of the virus, yet I'm sure I'll be told my this either doesn't count as "new information" or that it is microevolution and thus not valid... The problem of course is that Evolution as a Theory doesn't predict that the large scale changes that creationists want to see examples of will occur over an observable period of time with respect to complex organisms such as mammals, which is why it is a theory and will remain a theory until such time as scientific observation has occured long enough to find confirmation of the theory. But it is still a scientifc theory with elements that are testable and falsifiable, unlike creationism which is no more scientific, testible, or falsifiable than Last Tuesdayism. QNA 12:25, 16 January 2008 (EST)
"This is a phrase ... that has no simple solid definition in a scientific sense when used to discuss these types of evolutionary issues.": It isn't? How come?
"in the case of examples already provided here relative to viruses for example, they will fall back on the "oh thats MICROevolution, its not the same".": No, I wouldn't use that argument. It's not the size of the change that's important, but the direction[10].
"I would tend to think the simplest definition of "new information" is the gaining of a new trait or ability that an organism did not previously had.": In a general sense, that is correct, but not precise enough. If a truck with a speed limiting device limiting it to 100 kph gains the "new ability" to go faster than 100 kph due to a fault in the speed limiting device, that's not the sort of change that we are talking about. Similarly with living things, there are quite a few documented examples where living things have "gained an ability" because of a loss of genetic information, such as the bacteria that have become resistant to penicillin, which is normally taken in by the bacteria's mechanism for taking in nutrients (or something like that; this is from memory) developing a defect which means that it can't take in as much. Although the bacteria is now "less fit" in most environments, it has "gained" the ability to survive penicillin. But this is a downward change, not an upward chance as required by goo-to-you evolution.
"The problem of course is that Evolution ... doesn't predict that the large scale changes that creationists want to see ...": As I've just explained, it's not the size of the change that's important, but the direction.
"...which is why it is a theory and will remain a theory until such time as scientific observation has occured long enough to find confirmation of the theory...": Evolutionists would disagree with you about your use of the term "theory" (they argue that evolution is a fact), but thanks for acknowledging that the evidence is not yet in, and it is therefore alternatives (such as creation) have not yet been excluded.
"..creationism ... is no more scientific, testible, or falsifiable than Last Tuesdayism": Utter, complete rubbish.
Philip J. Rayment 05:23, 18 January 2008 (EST)
Despite your attempt to dismiss it as "utter, complete rubbish", that fact remains that the nature of creationism is no different than that of Last Tuesdayism, both are as "defendable" or "falisifiable" which is to say, they are not. They are assertions, not theories. Your dismissal of the term thoery is once again a tired YEC tactic as well. Science admits that absolute proof is not there, but beleive the evidence for the basic theory is strong. The same can not be said for creationism, despite your eloquents spinning of facts and twisting of words. QNA 07:43, 18 January 2008 (EST)
Despite you restating your assertion, it is still false. I have in the last few hours posted in this talk page that creationists have made falsifiable predictions which have been tested and found true. And evolution itself is unfalsifiable. I didn't dismiss the term "theory". I disputed your use of it. See my very recent post in the "Evolution is a Theory" section below. I said that evolutionists call it a "fact" because they do.
"The same can not be said for creationism, despite your eloquents spinning of facts and twisting of words": What "spinning of facts and twisting of words"?
And you didn't answer the questions at the start of my last post that you are replying to.
Philip J. Rayment 08:08, 18 January 2008 (EST)

I assume you mean these questions:

This is a phrase ... that has no simple solid definition in a scientific sense when used to discuss these types of evolutionary issues.": It isn't? How come?

I guess I'd have thought that was self evident given this entire debate... the shear number of analogies that are being thrown about to try and explain what "new information" means just highlights the fact it has no easily defined meaning. You claim my simplification of the phrase is "imprecise", well, then the term itself is more so. Let me see if I follow your current definition then. "New Information" means: Gaining a new, useful, advantageous ability through the gaining of new genetic material? This is what I mean... everytime I try to talk with anyone who uses the "new information" tactic they keep tacking on caveats to argue against any examples given. You are attempting to frame the debate in your own terms alone. QNA 11:15, 18 January 2008 (EST)

The number of analogies is more likely due to this concept being foreign to evolutionists, so it needs a lot of explaining. But it has been sufficiently well defined, and I'm not framing it in my terms, but in the terms that information experts have framed it in (well, that's my intention; I hope I'm doing that successfully). The problem, I suggest, is that you have not read up on information theory enough to understand it, so people like me have to keep improving your knowledge. A good book on the topic is In the Beginning was Information, by Werner Gitt. He's also written an article on the topic. You might find this useful also. And if you really do want to study up on this, this list of articles will have more useful, umm, information. Your latest attempt at a definition is pretty close, although I'd say that the "new useful, advantageous ability" is the result of the new information, not the definition of it.
Thanks for answering that question. Now perhaps you could answer the one near the end of my previous post to you, about your claim about me spinning fact and twisting words.
Philip J. Rayment 06:04, 22 January 2008 (EST)
Sorry for having taken a small break from this discussion, but I have to wag my finger at some of you, and not just Philip, for a rather colloquial, inconsistent use of the word information. And if you change the meaning of the words that often, you might argue for anything.
So, information, according to Philip's chosen definition has 5 levels. The first is the size of the string, second the syntax, third semantics, fourth context, fifth purpose.
  • DNA is not information under this definition. Sure it is a sequence. It has syntax, which is determined by whether it can be read by the cell. It has no semantics other than the functional effect that the proteins have that are produced through reading/transcribing it. There is no external semantics. As far as I know there is little context, the same genome will always result in the same proteins. If there is any context at all, then it is defined by biochemistry. And there is certainly no purpose. DNA is a string, with a certain format, and reading it with result in a certain function. That is about it.
  • Real information is information, regardless of whether it is true or not. "Bus 380 goes to the beach" is information, even if it is wrong. Applied to dna this means, that even if a certain mutation has negative effects for the animal, it is still information. Bad information is information too. Dna that results in autism is information, too, because it tells how to make autism.
  • It is not always possible to rank information. "The Indian diner burns down", and the "Bus 380 goes to the beach", do not have the same amount of information, but an incomparable amount of information, if we ignore the simple measure of counting bits.
  • A bug loosing his ability to fly might loose it because he looses some dna, but he might also lose the ability because of a switch that disables the dna. Just loosing the ability doesn't mean that you lose information. "Do not go to the beach" is information too, and it doesn't mean that you lost information about how to get there.
  • This also shows that the information bit is not too important. If the beetle lost it capabilities because of an added switch, or because of the loss of a substring, in the end the functionality matters.
  • Duplicating information might not add information according to information theory, but duplicating strings does. "There are 2 cockroaches in your kitchen", vs "There are 22222222 cockroaches in your kitchen". So duplicating syntax, may add semantics.
  • Information doesn't have to be perfect to be useful. "Bus 381 go to de beach" might get you to the right bus stop, even if it not exactly correct.
  • Finally, I want to reiterate the first point. DNA is not information, it is a sequence, that has some syntax, and some function. If you use the word "information" you need to be careful to not confuse it with "real" information, that has more than that. This is actually the problem with creationist arguments. Stating that dna is a sequence that has syntax and function, which is true, and then slip in a definition that also includes purpose, and even more, which is not true. Order 07:14, 22 January 2008 (EST)
We should split this item. Order 07:15, 22 January 2008 (EST)

Note from an interested outsider with negligible biology background, so I ask for patience if I'm bumbling Bio 101 here: it seems that natural selection has a role to play here as well. Naively, I'd guess that mutation provides the mechanism by which information content is updated so to speak, but natural selection is the non-random process that ensures useful new information stays around, i.e. is passed to subsequent generations.--Recorder 11:51, 7 January 2008 (EST)

Essentially, you are correct. Evolution requires that mutations provide the new genetic information that natural selection selects from. The existence of natural selection is not in dispute. The ability of mutations to provide the new genetic information is in dispute. Philip J. Rayment 08:07, 8 January 2008 (EST)

Please unlock or link to Creation-evolution controversy

Please unlock or link to Creation-evolution controversy. Thanks. StephenW 00:19, 9 January 2008 (EST)

Link provided. Philip J. Rayment 09:35, 9 January 2008 (EST)

Not relating to the above, but maybe some of the oldest discussion could be archived - now this very interesting talk page is quite heavy for older computers and slow connections. --Leopeo 12:39, 9 January 2008 (EST)

I mean this Talk:Theory of Evolution page, not Creation-evolution controversy! --Leopeo 12:41, 9 January 2008 (EST)

Done. ~ SharonTalk 13:02, 9 January 2008 (EST)

Extreme Bias in Article

After reading this article, I have seen gross amounts of bias. While it is acceptable and necessary to discuss criticism of the theory of evolution, it is also necessary to discuss the response of evolutionists. Furthermore, it is important to note that most mainstream scientists do support evolution. I feel that this page needs to be renamed "Criticism of Evolution" with an article about debate over the theory including the information in this article and information in response to this article. Every section contains only quotes by opponents of evolution and is not accurate in its representation. Then, this article needs a COMPLETE rewrite, focusing on what the theory of evolution is and all that supports it. There clearly is evidence supporting evolution, and to give Conservapedia fair coverage on this controversial topic, all sides must be supported, not just the ideas of some.--Eb12 11:20, 12 January 2008 (EST)

I believe the intention of Conservapedia is to purposefully have the article slanted, unfortunately, your request will fall on very deaf ears. Wisdom89 13:02, 12 January 2008 (EST)
I disagree with most of your answer.
If there is bias, please point it out. Is it the overall tone, or are there specific biased points?
If evolutionists have responded to any point, we can link to that - or just have an Evolution controversy page where pro and con is laid out nice and neat.
I haven't read the article lately, but if it fails to mention that 95% of scientists accept the theory, then that is a indeed a problem. (Hey, I'm listening, okay?)
One place I agree is that this article cannot replace an Opposition to evolution article. However, please bear in mind that Evolution and creation are sometimes difficult to describe. --Ed Poor Talk 13:08, 12 January 2008 (EST)
The best way to see if an article is biased is to look at what is the main point or main question this article is discussing. This article best answers the question: "What evidence has been proposed to refute evolution?" Therefore, it is only proper for there to be an equal amount of space answering the question "What evidence has been used to support evolution?" including information such as the fossil record. Furthermore, there are specfic instances that are not true, for example, that evolution is strongly associated with atheism.

Ed, I like your idea of an Evolution controversy page. There are several examples in the article that are mistaken, not that the authors of the article are incorrect, but better research has been presented. I can make a list with the examples after I am done with the pages I am currently working on (may be a while since I edit mostly during the week and the articles I am working on deal with chemistry and biochemistry).--Able806 09:17, 14 January 2008 (EST)


You know, it would be heartening if people who are concerned about bias in this article were as concerned about bias in Wikipedia's treatment of this and related topics. Their ID article, for example, last I looked, was not about ID, but about what was supposedly wrong with ID. And that bias was despite numerous people pointing out the bias. Then there's the myriad of articles on Wikipedia, such as the one about birds, that simply assume evolution to be true, so don't even mention that there is an alternative view. Then there's the bias of the mainstream science journals, that won't allow anything to question evolution. And the bias of the education system, that won't allow anything questioning evolution to be taught, even getting courts to enforce that bias (apparently the evidence is not enough). Yet despite these major examples of bias, people get concerned about bias in this article! Methinks someone has their priorities wrong, or simply don't like the problems of their own view being publicised. Philip J. Rayment 07:27, 16 January 2008 (EST)

Whereas I agree about the bias in Wikipedia's entries I believe we should focus in our backyard first. About the bias in science publications, I am afraid that you are mistaken Philip. If the author is submitting sound research (as in it provides a basis for their hypothesis with a proposed mechanism) it will be published. The scientific community governs itself by researching the research. Take for example the claims of cold fusion being produced in a lab. Three other labs attempted to perform the same protocol and did not achieve the same results. This lead to questioning of the original researcher which eventually lead to the revocation of the claim. Not that this only occurs in the finite sciences it happens with biology and biochemists as well. Michael Behe was confronted by many virologists about his claims in his book the edge of evolution in regards to HIV mutation. He admitted his mistake and moved on. I worked on a review staff for Cell. You would be amazed at what is submitted to be published. Most of which does not use sound scientific judgment and allows for to many variables to test its validity. Those articles are tossed while the articles that offer sound research and supported hypothesis are published. I know that the scientific community has been leery of the ID issue because of the highly publized wedge strategy and that ID was inserting itself into the secondary school level without a full review in the college level. This has caused many scientists to ask for mechanisms of how the designer manipulated the design. For now ID uses the same mechanisms that evolution uses just with the added caveat that a designer was involved. The only real way to separate the two is to provide some method for which the designer manipulated the changes. At this time ID research has provided nothing support their claims. As far as courts go, I believe that science should stay in its corner and religion should stay in its own corner. When people take school systems to court to prevent them from teaching science on the basis of their personal religion I believe that to be petty as I also believe that for science to take school boards to court due to religion is petty as well. What irritates me is when a non-scientist is telling a scientist what science is and is not and also when a scientist is telling a pastor what religion is or is not. In the US we are seeing a rapid decline in science standards as well as technology breakthroughs. Many people who work in the US as scientists are leaving for other countries due to politics and lack of funding. This is hurting the US because our economy is not based on manufacturing (which requires a lesser amount of technical ability) as much as it is based on technology and development. I truly believe that this polarization of religion and science to the degree that it is today is hurting both groups (people are exposed to religion when they are very little, it is not until they are in school do they truly begin to be exposed to science as such, more people are religious than scientific causing more to question science than religion.) The bible does not give all of the answers, nor does science, the difference is that science is still making discoveries while the bible is only adjusting its interpretation.--Able806 09:38, 16 January 2008 (EST)

"If the author is submitting sound research (as in if it provides a basis for their hypothesis with a proposed mechanism) it will be published. The scientific community governs itself by researching the research" The problem is that both creation and evolution are both accounts of what happened in the past, and are therefore equally (read barely if at all) testable by scientific means. The scientific community however has decided to accept one and reject the other. That is the problem. --Tim (CPAdmin1)talk 11:41, 16 January 2008 (EST)
"If the author is submitting sound research (as in it provides a basis for their hypothesis with a proposed mechanism) it will be published.": No, it won't. Various bodies have declared that creationism and Intelligent Design are by definition not science, and therefore won't be published. It has nothing to do with whether or not it is sound research.
"When people take school systems to court to prevent them from teaching science on the basis of their personal religion I believe that to be petty...": In some cases, creationists or ID people have had legislation passed in an attempt to break the evolutionary monopoly. In other cases, school boards have decided without any legislation to do this. In both cases, it is the evolutionists who have taken the issue to court.
"What irritates me is when a non-scientist is telling a scientist what science is and is not and also when a scientist is telling a pastor what religion is or is not.": I can understand that. But consider these points: Sometimes it is (creationary) scientists telling other scientists what science is about. So that's okay with you? Evolution and creation are really competing accounts of history, i.e. what happened in the past. So what's wrong with a pastor, who has an infallible history (assuming for the moment that that's what the Bible is), telling a scientist that he has his history wrong? And what right therefore does a scientist have telling the pastor that his history is wrong?
"I truly believe that this polarization of religion and science to the degree that it is today is hurting both groups (people are exposed to religion when they are very little, it is not until they are in school do they truly begin to be exposed to science as such...": On the other hand, even young children are exposed to—no, indoctrinated in—evolution and long ages via the media and the government school system. The only ones exposed to the alternative view of origins are some of those in Christian schools, some of those who attend church (and probably only to an extremely limited extent in most cases), and most of those who are homeschooled. And keep in mind that Christianity provides an ideological basis for science, as well as an historical framework for origins research, so those Christians should make good scientists. Which would be why so many early scientists were Christians, and why the most Christian nation on Earth has produced the most scientists. Now that the Christian worldview is under so much attack, the science is in decline, as you note.
Philip J. Rayment 10:30, 16 January 2008 (EST)

Actually, there has been no sound research submitted to substantiate the claim that they would not be allowed to publish. It is not the journals that make the claims that they would publish no research; it is the media-hype since it is assumed that ID is not scientific that the journals would not publish. As for court cases, there are many in the US where religion brought science to court. The difference is that due to the separation of church and state the judges had to rule in science's favor or the issue did not come to trial. I lived in WV where there were several occurrences where a Baptist church brought a school board to court due to teaching sex education with birth-control. I like your example about the scientist and pastor, which was excellent! I would not be able to reconcile it due to both sides having their own evidence to support their claims. I guess the only way to figure it out would be through experimentation. I guess that is were science is limited, it can only make stronger claims if the evidence is reproducible, at least in part. One comment about the last paragraph, chemistry was developed in feudal china long before Christianity was involved, as well as astronomy was developed in the Americas before conolonization. As such the correlation about scientists being Christian may be due to social stigmas with religion at the time. I guess it would depend on what you would consider Christian. Many European scientists at that time attended church regularly, in body, but the question would be did they believe or just suffer the social stigma? That is something we can only know through autobiographies, unfortunately many of those scientists did not record their personal thoughts beyond their research.--Able806 11:26, 16 January 2008 (EST)

"...there has been no sound research submitted to substantiate the claim that they would not be allowed to publish.": What makes you think that?
"It is not the journals that make the claims that they would publish no research...": The Journal of the Biological Society of Washington said that they would not publish ID articles, citing an AAAS resolution that ID was unscientific.
"As for court cases, there are many in the US where religion brought science to court.": I'm not familiar with them, although I don't deny that there may be the odd one. Some examples please?
"The difference is that due to the separation of church and state the judges had to rule in science's favor or the issue did not come to trial.": Which presupposes that creationism has no science, which is begging the question, and is improper anyway given that the separation of church and state was supposed to be freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.
"there were several occurrences where a Baptist church brought a school board to court due to teaching sex education with birth-control.": Which has nothing to do with what we are talking about. Apart from the fact that we are talking about creation and ID vs. evolution, this is not even a case of a church disputing science, but moral values.
"Many European scientists at that time attended church regularly, ... but ... did they believe or just suffer the social stigma? ... many of those scientists did not record their personal thoughts beyond their research.": Many did, and many made it clear that their science was based on their Christian views. Your claim is also denied by the views quoted in Natural science#Beginnings, which specifically say that science arose because of the Christian worldview, not coincidentally associated with it.
Philip J. Rayment 07:18, 18 January 2008 (EST)
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